Why Do Dogs Love the Couch?
You are probably wondering why dogs love cuddling up on the couch. Well, it’s for the same reason as you do. Studies claim that 80% of dogs love the couch because it’s comfortable and their favorite people are there.
Dogs are social animals and they love being around us. In most cases, your lovely pooch will cuddle up next to you on the furniture and may choose to get some rest on the couch even when you aren’t home.
He’ll also snuggle up on your couch because he feels your scent and believes that you are just around the corner. That’s not all. Odds are that your couch is near a window and your dog may choose to jump on it as it is ideal for watching other dogs, people, or animals.
Again, you have to keep in mind that dogs mostly tend to do things because they get rewarded for doing what they do. And because you rarely reward your dog for lying on the floor, he’ll probably try his luck on the couch, especially if he gets a pet or pat from you. After all, the couch is comfortable and an easier choice for him, but only if you let him.
Should You Allow Your Dogs to Sleep on the Couch?
Whether or not to allow your pooch to sleep on your furniture is more often a personal choice. There’s actually nothing wrong with letting your four-legged best friend stay on the couch. But that’s, of course, if you don’t mind occasional muddy paw prints on your lovely cushions and some extra fur on your furniture.
On the other hand, it would be inappropriate to let the dog stay on the couch if he thinks he owns it and has every right to stay there. If, for example, your dog has ever snapped or growled at you or anybody else for that matter just to maintain his spot on the couch, it’s time to take him off the couch and let him know that it’s the end of his couch privileges.
You shouldn’t, therefore, feel guilty or think that you are being unkind or mean to your dog if you don’t allow him on the couch. Of course, your pooch is a member of your family but you’re his master so you have every right to decide whether or not he sits on the couch.
So How Can You Keep Your Dog Off the Couch?
In this section, we’ll offer various effective ideas that can help you keep your dog off the couch.
It’s important to note that it’s going to take a little time to teach your dog to stay off the couch and use his bed instead if he’s already been hopping on the couch. This is why it’s advisable that you train your dog to stay off the couch right from the puppy stage. This is because it will take him less time to learn that he’s not needed on the couch.
Of course, we understand that this may not be your situation right now and your dog is perhaps no longer a puppy. As such, you can still train him to stay off the couch, even though it will take a little longer for him to master that he’s no longer needed on the couch.
Whatever training method you choose, one of the most important things is to not punish your dog for jumping on the couch. You should not scold, use negative reinforcement, or worse yet, smack him! This is because it might make the problem worse and may cause several behavioral problems and this is something you don’t want.
When it comes to training your dog to stay off the couch, the most important thing is to make sure that you teach your dog the “off” command. This means that you have to teach the dog to have all his four feet on the floor and not on the couch. You can also teach him the “no” command every time he gets or tries getting on the couch.
Depending on the type of training that you choose, you might require a few supplies including:
- Laundry baskets – To make the couch inaccessible to him
- Treats – You can choose to treat or reward your dog every time he’s off the couch
- Deterrent mat – You can buy a gadget that makes noise to the dog whenever he gets on the couch
With this and many more, the rest of the training will be about time and patience. It may take a few weeks before the dog understands that he’s not needed on the couch but that doesn’t matter as long as he gets off the couch at the end of the day.
Provide Your Dog with Alternatives
One of the best ways to get your pooch off the couch is by providing a comfortable pet bed for your dog. In other words, the long-term fix to this problem is to get him his own couch. Before buying the bed, you have to pay close attention to your dog’s sleeping style so that you can buy a bed that exactly supports that sleeping style.
For example, you can purchase a bolster or donut bed if your dog loves curling up into a ball. You can also purchase a soft cushion bed if your dog loves spreading out on the couch. The idea here is to ensure that you buy a bed that will make the dog comfortable.
Here are a few tips.
Ensure that the bed is of the right size for your pooch. You should go for a bigger bed if you are unsure of your dog’s size or if you project that he may have a growth spurt. This is because it’s much better to get a bigger bed and not a smaller one, which can lead to neck and spinal problems.
Get a nice place for your dog’s bed. It’s important that you find a nice place on the floor, especially in a quiet room where your dog can sleep or rest without any form of disturbance. For example, you can place it in a quiet corner within your living room.
Consider throwing a few dog toys in there to encourage him to use the bed. In other words, use treats to encourage him to use his new couch. Once you’ve found a nice place to put the dog’s bed or couch, you can set a dog treat on it. This is actually the simplest way to encourage your dog to use the bed.
You should consider doing it a couple of times throughout the day so that he can associate his bed with a positive experience. Again, you can reward your dog when he’s relaxing on his special bed and when he’s not jumping on your couch.
It is of great importance to let everyone in the house including guests know that the family dog isn’t wanted on the couch. This is a rule that will make it a lot easier for everyone in the house to hold the same standard so that there’s consistency.
In other words, it wouldn’t make much sense to allow others to let the dog on the couch and prohibit others from doing the same. If anything, that will not only send mixed signals and reactions within the household but will also confuse the dog, thereby making it even more difficult to keep him off the couch. In short, set the standard and let it remain consistent.
Make the Couch Less Desirable to the Dog
Instead of using negative reinforcement such as punishing and scolding your dog for lying on the couch, you can use various positive reinforcement methods that make the couch less desirable to the dog. Here are a few suggestions.
Place sheets of aluminum on the couch. Dogs tend to be startled by the sound of aluminum sheets whenever they lie or jump on them. You can use this to your advantage by covering the entire length of the couch with an aluminum sheet, especially when you aren’t home.
This is a great way to startle the dog and keep him off your couch. Just make sure that the aluminum sheet doesn’t scare your dog. You certainly do not want your dog to be scared for life. The main agenda here is to keep him off the couch without scaring him.
Consider using positive interrupters. If your dog is sensitive to noise, you can use a positive noise interrupter that startles and distract the dog from the couch. You can set it in such a way that it makes noise when your dog jumps on the couch and goes silent when he’s off the couch.
Turn up the cushions. The idea here is to make the couch undesirable and less comfortable for the dog. You can consider turning up the cushions so that it’s no longer comfortable for him. Keep in mind that dogs do not like lying on hard surfaces but you also have to remember that turned up cushions might still be much better for the dog than lying on the floor, so chances are this method might not work appropriately.
Use a spray deterrent. You can consider buying a non-chemical spray deterrent and spray it on your couch. These deterrents are formulated in such a way that they emit a smell that’s unpleasant to the dog. The most important thing is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions about applying and reapplying the spray.
You can also buy a couch defender. It looks like a tunnel and can be put on the couch so that the dog can’t have enough space to sit on the couch. This product can be ideal if you have couches in a room that is not frequently used and you do not want your dog lying on them.
Manage Your Dog’s Access to the Couch
What would you do if your dog is a stealth sitter who stays off the couch and only sits on it when you leave? Well, the best thing to do is to employ management tactics. You should not only consider making the couch less enticing to your dog but you can also make the couch inaccessible to him.
You can make the couch inaccessible by placing the couch vertically or upside down when you’re leaving or by placing other objects such as the laundry basket and a stack of books on the couch so that he cannot access the couch.
You can also consider buying a pet-safe scat mat that can make a shrieking noise whenever the dog steps or lies on it. You have to make sure that the scat mat does not deliver any form of shock to the dog. You can also consider a cheaper alternative, which is to place your car’s floor mat upside down on the couch. The gripping parts on the bottom of the floor mat will be prickly thus making it uncomfortable.
Eliminate Access to that Room
You can consider restricting your dog’s access to the couch by ensuring that he doesn’t have any access to the room. You can do this by either putting him in his kennel or keeping him in a different room with no couch. Just make sure that the dog stays comfortable and warm so that he doesn’t miss cuddling on the couch.
Simply put, ensure that the dog cannot access the couch and this is a sure way of keeping him off it.
What Not to Do When Trying to Keep Your Dog Off the Couch
As we’ve always noted, it’s not a good idea to lose your temper at your four-legged friend. This means that you shouldn’t punish, scold, yell, or raise your voice at your dog. In short, punishing your dog for sitting on the couch or for doing anything undesirable for that matter isn’t the right solution.
That being said, you should avoid using any form of aversive technique just to keep your dog off the couch. You do not want to create unwanted fear or behavioral problems in your dog as this can affect him for life. In essence, you should always strive to create a loving relationship between you and your dog without scaring him away.
Again, you should avoid any device or product that can cause pain to your dog whenever he tries sitting on the couch.
What if You Encounter Resistance?
Like human beings, some dogs are not good listeners and may resist when you try keeping them off the couch. Well, if your dog is reluctant to get off the couch, this could be a sign that the habit is ingrained in him and he may resist leaving the couch even for a treat!
The best thing to do is to never try wrestling or fighting your dog off the couch. You should never try lifting him if he’s grumpy or growling at you. Instead look for better ways to entice him from leaving the couch and reward him once he’s on the floor. Make this a consistent habit and be patient with him until he realizes that he’s not wanted on the couch.
And unless you have an open house plan, you should consider putting him in his kennel or ensuring that he’s forbidden from accessing the couch. You should also train him not to climb on the couch by teaching him obedience and to obey various commands such as “off the couch” and “no''. You should also reward him and praise him for getting off the couch.