What are the best ways to keep dogs off couches?
We all love our dogs – that goes without saying. But we don’t love the dog hair, dander, grease, and dirt that ends up all over the couch when the dog decides it’s his spot.
It only looks gross (especially for visitors), but those substances can stain your couch and make it smell unpleasant and “doggy.” It’s particularly unwanted when you have a beautiful new sofa.
Our dog had this habit of sneaking up onto the couch at night once we went to bed. He knew he wasn’t allowed on it but thought he could get away with it at night.
It was a bit funny, but we couldn’t let him get away with it. It took a bit of training, but now he knows not to go on the couch.
How NOT To Keep Your Dog Off The Couch
Before we begin looking at how to stop your pet from sofa surfing, let’s discuss what not to do.
Training your dog is all about building trust and educating your pet.
Frightening your pet each time he gets on the couch is not the way to teach him!
That approach can make your dog afraid to come near the sofa or even avoid entering the room altogether, which is absolutely not what you want to do.
So, rather than putting something scary on the sofa, such as a static mat or yelling at your dog if he climbs up onto the furniture, you need to use one or a combination of the following methods.
The key to successful training is to be consistent in changing your dog’s behavior.
Everyone in your household and your visitors must know and stick to the rules. That makes it much easier for your dog to learn.
So, your dog is not allowed on the furniture, ever.
Your training won’t work if your kids let Fido on the sofa whenever you’re not looking!
1. Move The Couch
Many dogs climb onto the sofa to look out of the window. There’s so much to see outside!
Your curious pet might love to watch people and other dogs passing by in the street, or maybe the squirrels in your backyard are a source of entertainment for your pet.
Often, simply relocating the couch away from the window can be all you need to do to keep your dog off. It’s not always possible, depending don’t the layout of your house.
If that’s the case with you, try the following trick.
2. Lower The Shades
If you can’t relocate the couch, try lowering the shades or pulling the drapes so that the view your dog wants is no longer on offer.
Once the couch is no longer a good vantage point for your dog, he’ll most likely stop using it.
Of course, looking out the window from the couch might only be part of the reason he or she is jumping up on the couch.
You might need to do additional work with your dog if that’s the story.
3. Don’t Leave Food Out
Dogs are notoriously greedy (especially some breeds – both male and female Goldendoodles for example) and will eat pretty much anything they can get hold of.
If your couch is close to a countertop or coffee table, never leave anything edible out on display. Your dog will climb onto the couch to reach the tempting treats.
This might also be the case if you eat on the couch and leave tasty crumbs behind.
4. Teach The “Off” Command
Every time your pet gets onto the sofa or puts his paws up onto your best armchair, ask him to get “off.”
Reward your dog by throwing a few of his favorite treats onto the ground. It’s also effective to offer your dog a treat to lure him off the sofa.
Use this positive reinforcement training method consistently, and your dog will soon learn not to get onto the couch.
Training your dog not to jump on the couch is the best thing you can do, even if it wants to look out the window.
All dogs can be disciplined and trained not to do these sorts of things – it just takes a bit of work.
5. Provide Your Dog With A Bed Of His Own
Your dog climbs onto the couch to be next to you and because it’s a comfy place to sleep.
So, you need to provide your pet with an alternative that fulfills those same criteria.
Invest in a super-comfortable dog bed, locate it close to the couch, and teach your dog to use his bed instead of clambering up next to you.
Again, use treats to entice your dog onto the bed, and tell him to “go to bed.”
Keep repeating this command until your pet understands what you mean.
If your dog already has a bed, make sure that it’s still soft and comfy for your pet.
Some dog beds lose their softness as they age, so you might need to replace them with a new one.
6. Close The Door When You’re Out
When you leave your dog home alone, simply close the door so that he can’t get to the couch.
If you don’t want to do that, try using a baby gate to keep the dog out of the room.
Alternatively, when you’re not in the room put the dog in his kennel.
Our dog never stays inside the house on his own but goes out into his kennel and dog run.
Not only would he make the couch his bed, but we couldn’t trust him to not tear the kitchen apart looking for food (he’s a lab, you see).
7. Crate Your Dog
Your dog should have a crate that he uses as a den and place of security when he wants to retreat from the daily activity of the house.
You can also put the dog in his crate while you’re away from home to stop him from using the couch as a bed.
Personally, I don’t think you should keep a dog in a crate for long hours, and we’ve never used one since our dog was a puppy.
However, we did recently look after my brother’s French Bulldogs, and they are always happily crated together at night.
8. Erect A Barrier
Erecting a physical barrier around the couch is a very effective way of keeping your dog off.
You can use chairs or a purpose-designed screen. Often, a visible barrier is all it takes to persuade your dog that his bed is a much better option than the couch.
When our kids want to play with something that they don’t want our 6-month-old lab puppy to get, they are very good at creating barriers across half the room.
9. Put Something On The Couch
If there’s already something on the couch, there won’t be enough space for your dog, so he won’t climb up.
You want to choose something that won’t damage your couch and can’t injure your dog if he pulls the item down. A lightweight laundry basket works well.
Empty the clothes out of the basket and put it upside down on the couch so that your dog doesn’t decide to climb into the basket and sleep on the clothes!
10. Turn Up The Sofa Cushions
When you’re out of the room, try to remember to turn up the cushions on the couch.
That will leave a hard surface that’s not so comfortable for your dog to lie on.
This method can be very effective, although some dogs will persist in climbing up and sleeping there anyway, whereas others will simply pull the cushions down again.
You also want to be careful your dog doesn’t rip the area under the cushions either.
11. Get Professional Help
Some dogs can be very obstinate when it comes to changing their behavior.
If you’re struggling to get the message through to your pup that sleeping on the couch is not an option, it’s worth asking a professional dog trainer to help you.
There are also many good online dog training courses that could be worthwhile taking in order to better control your dog.
How To Keep Dog Off Couch
If you want to keep your dog off the furniture, you can use the methods outlined above to train your pet.
Start by teaching your dog the “off” command, provide him with his own super-comfy bed, barricade the sofa to keep your dog off it, and try crating your dog when you’re not around to keep an eye on him.
Above all, be consistent and patient when training your dog and always use positive reinforcement teaching methods rather than punishment. Get into a training routine and you’re sure to keep your dog off the couch.
While some people want to know how to get the dog to sleep with them in bed, most of us just want to know how to keep them off the furniture.
Hopefully, this has given you some dog training ideas and if you stay consistent, your dog will learn quickly.