Does your dog love to lay on the furniture? Have you just come home to find him curled up on the cushions? Have you told him to get down, but all he does is look up at you with those sad, mournful eyes which make you feel guilty for trying to deprive him of his comfortable spot? Your dog is obviously content sleeping on the furniture, but are you happy sharing the sofa? Even worse, have you just told him to get down and he's let you know in no uncertain terms with a throaty growl, he is not planning on moving? So what is about furniture that dogs find irresistible?
The Root of the Behavior
It's in a dog's nature to seek out the most comfortable spot to go to sleep. They're intelligent creatures. They know what's good and what's not. In fact, a lot of dogs have very discerning tastes so why, when there's a nice soft option right under his nose, would he choose to sleep on a hard floor? Creeping up on to the chair or sofa for a good snuggle while you're not looking just goes to show how clever he is. Have you ever come home from work and been unable to find your dog anywhere? You know the moment when you're just about to go into a state of panic because you imagine he's somehow escaped through locked doors and windows and disappeared, then you open the bedroom door and up pops his head from under the covers? If you're not home, your dog will search for the next best thing. To him, being where your scent is can be almost as satisfying as having you next to him. He misses you when you're gone and laying in your bed, even if he's going to get in trouble for it, is where he feels the closest to his absent owner. Back when they were still running wild, dogs would find a sheltered spot to sleep and rest from the perils of everyday life. They needed to be as safe and secure as possible so they could rest peacefully knowing there was no imminent danger from other animals attacking them. They might have chosen a cave or a sheltered spot under an outcrop of rock. Sometimes a place well covered with shrub where they could crawl underneath and be hidden away would suffice. In that safe spot, they'd rummage around, making it as comfortable as possible until it resembled a nest and was as cozy as they could get it. When your dog sneaks up onto the furniture, he's just doing what comes naturally and fulfilling his need to be safe and comfortable.
Encouraging the Behavior
It's normal for a dog to want to sleep or rest in a snug place, but sometimes letting your dog sleep on the furniture can cause unexpected problems. If your dog lays claim to a particular chair or place on the sofa, he may, in his own doggedly canine fashion, decide that that piece of furnishing has become his sole property. Once its become part of his territory, he won't take kindly to you, or anyone else, trying to take it away from him. If he feels the need to protect his belonging, which may well coincide with the moment you tell him to get off it, he could become aggressive. Pets are one of life's big comforts. Dogs especially seem to understand their owners well, even more than long-term spouses, friends or other humans do. There's nothing better than spending a quiet time with your pet by your side on the sofa or sitting on your knee in a chair. Stroking a dog can help you relax and keep your blood pressure down. If you're feeling sad, they always seem to understand and sympathize. Having your dog close to you while you're on the sofa, can be a real pleasure for the both of you.
Other Solutions and Considerations
An unfortunate fact of dog life that it is, they can and do pick up parasites when they're out and about. If you let your dog jump up on the furniture then those parasites can transfer themselves on to your upholstery. If your dog's been on the sofa, you may well find yourself scratching an unexpected flea bite while watching your favorite television program. As prevention is better than cure, make sure his parasite treatments are up to date. If your dog growls at you when you attempt to get him off the furniture, you may need to consider reinstating your dominance in the household, because as far as he's concerned he's taken charge - of the sofa at least. A qualified dog trainer would be able to assist you by showing you the correct ways to let your dog know you are still the alpha in the household.
Dogs liking the furniture is a normal thing for our canine pals, but it can be both a pleasure and a pain for owners. If you've got a dog from a large breed, then it can get even more complicated if he takes up all the available space. But you know what they say, as far as dogs and sofas go, sharing is caring, so move over Rover.