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How to Train Your Dog to Stay off the Furniture

Tips for training your dog to stay off the furniture.

Some people don't mind if their dogs get up on the furniture. And dogs love it because their human family is their pack, so snuggling up together makes them feel good. If it works for you and your dog, there's no problem with that ("Should Your Dog Be Allowed on the Furniture.")

But if you don't want your dog on the furniture for some reason (perhaps your dog is territorial when on the couch with you or someone in your home is allergic to dogs), don't worry. You can train your dog to stay off the furniture.

Be Consistent with Your Dog

Regardless of whether you decide to allow your dog on the furniture or choose to have him keep all four paws on the floor, you must be consistent, at least in the beginning. If you let your dog on the couch sometimes but other times yell for him to get off, he'll get confused, and it will be harder to teach him which way you want it.

That said, if you do allow your dog on the furniture, it's a good idea to make it a "by invitation only" situation. Your dog should come up when you invite him and get down when you ask him to. You can teach him that by using a command like "off couch." Use a treat to get him down when you use the command, then give the treat and lots of praise. When you practice that training consistently, your dog will figure out what the command means and follow it.

How to Keep Your Dog off the Couch

If you choose not to let your dog on the furniture, the first thing you should do is get him a nice, cozy bed of his own. You may need one for each room you hang out in, so he always has someplace to go when you're on the furniture.

Encourage your dog to love his bed by giving him lots of praise when he goes in it. You can also offer treats when he goes to the bed, or give him a treat-stuffed puzzle toy to keep him busy while he's in it.

Teach the "Off Couch" Command

If your dog gets on the couch, you'll need to teach him a command to get him off. Do this by tossing a treat on the floor several feet away from the sofa, gesturing toward it, and saying "off couch." Over time, your dog will associate the words with a command to get down, and then you'll be able to use that to help train him to stay off the furniture. After he gets off, follow up by directing him to his bed and giving praise and a treat when he gets into it.

Remember, dogs always learn better from positive reinforcement—being shown what you want them to do and getting praise for doing it—than from negative reinforcement like yelling or punishment for doing what you don't want him to.

Decrease Opportunity to Get on Furniture

It will be faster to teach your dog to stay off the couch if you limit his opportunities to do so. When you're home, that is easier, but when you're gone, he's more likely to buck the rules and climb on the couch.

The best way to do that is to keep your dog in his crate while you're gone. Not only does that keep him off the furniture, but it also keeps him safe.

You can also block off the furniture by putting something on the cushions or using baby gates to block off rooms or items so your dog can't get on them while you're gone.

Scat Mats can keep pets off furniture by giving a small static shock when they approach.

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