How to Train a Dog to Stay Off the Couch

Use our techniques to train your dog to stay off the couch.

Use our techniques to train your dog to stay off the couch.

Most people who own canines as companions treat them just like other members of their families. Although the dog is well taken care of and treated like gold, many people just don’t want their pets on the furniture. The main culprits? Having to clean up pet hair on the couch or being embarrassed when company comes and the doggy won’t get up so your guests can take a seat. Some owners simply believe that pets belong on the floor and not napping on the couch.

Whatever your reasoning is for keeping your puppy off the furniture, you will be able to do so if you are patient and consistent. Follow these 4 sure-fire ways to train your pet to stay off your comfy sofa.

1. Start From the Beginning

The best way to train your dog to stay off of the couch is to never allow him up on it in the first place. Canines are creatures of habit. If you ever give your four-legged friend a license to lounge, he will automatically believe that the sofa is an acceptable place for him to take his afternoon nap. Being consistent from the beginning by never allowing your pup on the furniture is the best way to ensure that he will understand that the couch is for humans and not for him. (Poor fella!)

2. Narrow Down the Suspects

There are many households that have more than one canine living in the home. Heck, I’ve got eight Newfoundlands in my home. Most multiple-pet owners immediately think that the youngest or newest addition to the family is undoubtedly the one that decided to relax on the couch. When you have several doggies, you cannot afford to jump to conclusions. However, if you have only one pet, you already know exactly who is getting hair all over the sofa.

To find out which pup is the couch snoozer, crate all but one of the dogs when you are not there to watch them. Leave a different dog out each day and check the furniture for evidence when you return. You should soon learn which of your canine companions is taking over your living room furniture.

3. Learn to Love Laundry

Nobody likes laundry, but your trusty laundry baskets can be helpful in training your pooch to stay off the couch. Simply place the baskets on top of the cushions. This will help to block the pet’s access to the furniture.

Sometimes an owner will arrive home only to find the baskets on the floor and pet hair on the couch. This is an easy fix. Get some empty plastic water bottles or cardboard boxes and fill them with small stones. Load the baskets with the bottles and boxes and place them on the couch. When your dog tries to get up onto the furniture again, the baskets will fall and the sound of the rocks banging together will send him running away from the furniture. It’s decidedly low-tech, but this trick works.

4. Catch ‘Em in the Act

Dog owners who can catch their pup on the couch can teach him to stay off the couch much more easily. If this happens, immediately approach your dog and take hold of his collar. Gently pull him off the furniture while sternly giving the command “Off!” Repeat this anytime you catch him on the sofa. After a week or so, your pup will get the idea.

Should your dog decide that he doesn’t want to listen to your “Off!” command, remove him from the sofa and put him on a down stay on the floor. Every time he tries to get up on the couch you will have to deter him. Eventually you should see progress.

Of course, you can just shake a can filled with rocks. Check out this one-woman “Couch Patrol”:

Positive Training

Perhaps shaking cans or stern commands aren’t your cup of tea. You may be interested in positive training techniques using a clicker and treats. In the video below, Pam’s Dog Academy demonstrates how this might be accomplished in your home:

Additional Resources

Photo: Dustin and Jenae/Flickr

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