How to Keep a Dog off the Furniture

by Kimberly Caines
Give your dog his own soft place to use in place of the banned furniture.

Give your dog his own soft place to use in place of the banned furniture.

Collie Dog on Dog Bed image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com

The most effective way to keep your dog reliably off the furniture is to establish the ban from the start, when she's a puppy. If you have initially allowed your dog to believe resting on the furniture is allowed, breaking the habit will be a challenge. The sudden change will bewilder the dog. You'll have to be consistent in your reactions as the dog experiments to determine what the rule really is. If your dog has oily skin or sheds heavily, it will be unpleasant to find her lounging on your new couch. Instead of using harsh corrections as you remove her from the couch, veterinarian Dr. Nicholas Dodman recommends focusing on giving rewards for behavior you like.

Step 1

Tempt your dog off the couch. Show your dog a treat to lure him off the couch. Whisper the word "off," and snap your fingers or use a clicker the moment your dog's feet hit the ground. Give him a treat. He'll associate the clicking sound with the treat. Over time, stop showing him the treat and use the command with the clicker. Once the dog is off the couch, take him to a dog bed in the same room. When he uses it, snap your fingers or use the clicker and reward him. Be consistent with this technique until your dog begins preferring his own bed to the furniture.

Step 2

Create an uncomfortable surface on the furniture. Dog trainer Kathy Diamond Davis suggests turning a plastic carpet runner upside down and covering your dog's furniture of choice with it. The plastic spikes make the once-comfortable surface unwelcoming. As an alternative, remove the cushions from the couch so there is no surface to lounge on.

Step 3

Startle your dog off the furniture. Applied animal behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid recommends placing a booby trap on the furniture to scare your dog. She suggests making a pyramid of empty cans and placing them near the front edge of the sofa. When your dog jumps on the sofa, the cans will fall and the noise may scare him off. You also can place a commercial alarm product, such as Tattle Tale, on the couch. This alarm senses surface vibrations. When your dog jumps on the furniture, the alarm goes off and scares him.

Step 4

Deny your pet companion access to the room with his favored furniture when you're not at home. Barricade the room with a gate so your dog can't enter it. This allows your dog the freedom to walk through the remaining parts of the house. If, in addition to sitting on furniture, your dog displays other undesired behaviors, place him in a crate when you leave the house.

Step 5

Remain consistent. Avoid sporadically disciplining your pet companion -- always remove him from the couch. If you allow him to get away with couch-sitting once in a while, you're only confusing him. All family members must be on the same page and know that the dog isn't allowed on the furniture. Have them all use similar commands and disciplinary measures.

Items You Will Need

  • Dog treats
  • Clicker
  • Carpet runner
  • Empty soda cans
  • Alarm
  • Gate
  • Dog crate

Tips

  • Never expect a small dog or puppy to jump down from furniture. Doing that can injure soft joints, tendons and muscles. Instead, pick him up and put him on the floor.
  • Have several dog beds in your home. Place them in areas of the house that are frequented by family members. Avoid forcing social isolation, because dogs perceive this as punishment.

Photo Credits

  • Collie Dog on Dog Bed image by Janet Wall from Fotolia.com