Keep Your Dog Off The Furniture For Good With These Tips From An Expert
At least when you're visiting your parents 🙅♀️
Letting your dogs on your furniture might seem awesome, but sometimes it’s a total pain.
You love your dog more than anything, but you could honestly do without the pet hair and muddy paw prints on your bed and sofa.
The Dodo reached out to Dr. Wailani Sung, a veterinary behaviorist at the San Francisco SPCA, to find out the most effective methods for keeping dogs off the furniture.
Enforce the rule earlyOne of the best ways to keep your dog off the furniture is to enforce this rule from the very beginning — since it’s a lot easier to prevent this behavior instead of trying to change it later (once they discover how cozy the couch is).
“Easy method is to not let your dog on the furniture right when you bring them home,” Dr. Sung told The Dodo. “Establish consistent rules that you follow.”
Place comfy dog beds throughout your homeYour dog might like to sleep on your furniture because it’s comfortable for him. So giving him a few comfy dog beds might prevent him from resting on your bed or sofa.
“You need to provide them with appropriate, comfortable places [where] they can rest instead [of on your furniture],” Dr. Sung said.
And just one dog bed might not be enough. Your dog might really appreciate having dog beds in each of the rooms that he likes to hang out in the most. That way, he won’t have to resort to your sofa for an impromptu nap in the living room when his dog bed’s in your bedroom.
And if your dog just really likes sofas, you can even get him his own mini sofa.
Make his spot rewardingWhen your dog goes to one of his dog beds, “offer treats and praise for him going to that location,” Dr. Sung said.
That way, your dog will learn that good things happen on his bed, and will be more inclined to hang out there.
“You can also give them a frozen puzzle toy or long-lasting chew to work on, but only when they are lying down on their beds and not yours,” she added.
Block off accessWhen you’re not home, one of the best ways to keep your dog off furniture is to block his access from it completely.
“You can block off access to the furniture using pet gates/exercise pens when you are not there to supervise,” Dr. Sung said.
Teach your dog an “off” cueOne of the most effective ways to keep your dog off of the furniture for good is to actually train him using positive reinforcement.
You can do this by teaching your dog the “off” command.
Every time your dog gets on the couch or bed, lure him off with a treat while saying the command “off.” With practice, your dog will start to jump off the furniture when you give the command, even if he doesn’t see a treat. When this happens, reward your dog randomly with surprise treats or praise to keep the behavior reinforced.
If you suspect your dog has learned to jump on furniture every time he wants a treat, make your dog sit or lie down after he gets off the furniture and before he gets a treat. That way, he knows the treat won’t just be handed to him and he has to work for it.
Dr. Sung recommends that dog parents avoid telling their pups to “get down” from the furniture. “This is confusing to many dogs because ‘down’ is often associated with lying down,” Dr. Sung said. “So the owners telling their dog ‘down’ may mean ‘lie down on the furniture’ to the dog.”
Cover your furnitureIf you can’t figure out how to keep your pet off your furniture — or you just want to protect the fabric — you might want to try couch or bed covers.
Couch covers slip over your sofa to provide protection from dog fur, muddy paw prints and any other messes (from you or your dog).
You can even get one for your bed, too.
Avoid averse training techniquesNo matter how you decide to keep your dog off the furniture, you should never do something to scare or hurt your dog on purpose. “We do not recommend the use of aversive techniques such as spraying them with a water bottle, using a static shock mat, spraying with compressed air or an in-home perimeter fence using shock,” Dr. Sung said.
The best thing to do is stay patient while using positive reinforcement to train your dog to stay off the furniture. It won’t happen overnight, so trust the process, and pretty soon you’ll have your furniture all to yourself.
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