How to Train Your Dog to Not Jump on Furniture

How to Train Your Dog to Not Jump on Furniture
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon4-6 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

Your furniture is soft and comfortable. In fact, you probably purchased it because of its beauty and comfort. If you have ever come home to your dog napping on your couch, then know he appreciates your taste in furniture as well. However, you may not want your dog to be quite so comfortable on your beautiful, soft furnishings. Dog hair can be difficult to clean up off some fabrics and dirty paws can leave stains on your beautiful furniture. Moreover, sharp little claws can poke holes in fabrics such as leather. If you have furniture you do not want your dog on, you will need to train him to stay off it.

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Defining Tasks

These training methods can be used for your fine furniture, your bed, and your everyday furniture. Maybe your household is run in such a way the pets should not be allowed on furniture at all. Or maybe you only have a few pieces you do not want your dog to ruin, but you may allow him on a family room couch while you are watching TV. 

Teaching your dog to know the differences between the furniture he can get on, if any, and the furniture you do not want him on will be imperative to this training. If you are dedicated to keeping your furniture safe from your dog, this should only take a few weeks and lots of repetition and rewarding great behavior from your dog instead of becoming frustrated and angry when your dog forgets the rules.

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Getting Started

To begin training your dog to stay off your furniture, you should start with an alternative for your dog. Invest in a thick and comfortable dog bed for your dog and place it in an area where he can still be part of social time and family entertainment. If your dog would prefer to sleep in your bedroom with you or even in one of the bedrooms belonging to your children, you can buy a bed for that space as well, so your dog knows he is welcome in the bedroom during sleeping time but not in your bed. You will also want some tasty treats to reward your dog for good behavior. Bring lots of love and patience to these training exercises because it can be quite frustrating if you have a dog destroying furniture with pet hair or claw marks.

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The Personal Bed Method

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1

Special place

Give your dog a place that belongs to him within the social areas and sleeping areas of your house. Make a big deal with your dog out of purchasing a new bed. If you are able, take your dog to the pet store with you to shop for beds. Get him excited while in the store and have him lie on beds, testing each one out until you have found the perfect fit.

2

Back home

When you and your dog arrive back home, place the bed in an area in your family room or your bedroom, or both if you can buy two beds, and sit on the floor next to the bed encouraging your dog to lie on the bed. Providing lots of love and attention and affection while your dog is lying on the bed will help encourage him to stay there.

3

Sit on furniture

Once he is comfortable, get up and sit on your furniture. If your dog follows, point to the bed and use the keyword such as “bed”, redirecting him back to his new soft and comfortable space.

4

Treat and return

Once he is comfortably back on his bed, give him a treat. Return to your furniture and sit down.

5

Redirect

If your dog gets up again and comes to your furniture behind you, redirect again and treat when he goes back to his own bed. You may need to repeat this process several times before he understands that his space is just for him and the furniture is for you.

6

Command

As he gets used to his new bed in the social areas of your house, every time you come into a room point to his bed use the keyword such as “bed” and treat him when he lies down. From here on, your dog should be able to enjoy social time from his soft, comfortable space in the family room.

7

Night

Use the same method to keep your dog off your bed at night. Only put his special bed in your bedroom so he knows he can still sleep in your room with you but does not have to be in the bed with you.

8

Rewards

Be sure to treat your dog and reward him with praise for good behavior. Don't punish him when he forgets and makes a mistake, however. Redirect him, rewarding when he remembers the rules.

The 'Off' Command Method

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Command

When your dog jumps on the furniture or puts his paws on the furniture, say the command “off.”

2

Lure

Using a treat, lure the dog off the furniture.

3

Entice

If he is not interested, back away from the furniture and show him the treat.

4

"Off"

Say the word “off” again. As soon as his forepaws touch the floor, give him the treat.

5

Consistency

Repeat these steps every time you see your dog getting ready to jump on the furniture or already on the furniture. Be consistent with your training and correct your dog's behavior every time you see him getting ready to get on your furniture. If you do not want your dog on the furniture when you are away from the house, use a crate or a room where he has plenty of space to roam and no furniture to climb on.

The Click and Treat Method

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Jumping

If your dog jumps on the couch, encourage him off and click your training clicker when his paws touch the ground.

2

On the ground

As soon as his paws are on the ground, offer him a treat. Every time you see your dog on the couch, call him away from the couch. As soon as his paws touch the ground, click and treat.

3

Practice

This method will take a few weeks to complete. Every time you see your dog on the furniture, encourage him off, click, and treat for positive behavior.

4

Rewards

When you catch your dog making positive choices and staying off the furniture, offer him a treat and verbal praise.

5

Association

Eventually, your dog will begin to associate four paws on the ground and not on the furniture with positive rewards

By Stephanie Plummer

Published: 12/29/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Tobias

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Pit bull

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3 Years

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He jumps on us out of excitement jumps on the furniture and darts for the door when it’s opened

June 3, 2022

Tobias's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jessica, Jumping on people: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Jumping on furniture - especially the section on teaching Off: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ For the door bolting, start working on a reliable Come. Check out the Reel In method from the article linked below. Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall While working on Come also work on the door bolting itself. Attach a thirty or fifty foot leash to a padded back clip harness that he can't slip out of. Attach the other end of the leash to something sturdy like a stairway banister (the leash is a safety measure). With the leash slack and only there "just in case", act like you are going out the door. Start to open the door and whenever pup tries to go toward it quickly close it. Your goal isn't to hit him but he may get a slight bump if he is especially pushy. Practice opening and closing the door until you can open it and he will wait until it is open further. When he is waiting a bit, then get between him and the door and play goalie with the opening. Opening the door wide enough for you to get through, then whenever pup tries to get through firmly but calmly take several steps toward him to make him back up. By doing this you are communicating that you own that space and asking for his respect. Once you can open the door and he will stay back and not try to rush through, then you can click and toss a treat. You will gradually practice opening the door more and more and blocking him from getting through and walking toward him to make him back up and wait. Take steps toward him until he is at least two feet from the door AND two feet away from you - those two distances often equal him giving you respect (and not simply waiting to get past you when you move), and waiting at the door (instead of trying to bolt). It will feel a lot like you are a soccer goalie, having to be quick and focused. When you can open the door completely and he will wait, take a step through the doorway. If he tries to follow, rush toward him, making him backup again quickly. This serves as a natural consequence and encourages him to stay back. If he waits patiently, then click and toss a treat as his paws. Practice at that distance until he will stay back. As he improves, take more and more steps, moving outside, onto your porch and into your yard eventually. Be ready to quickly rush toward him as soon as you see him start to move, to keep him from getting outside (this is why you back the long leash on him, just in case he gets past you, but for training purposes the goal is to keep him from getting out so he isn't rewarded for bolting). When he will stay inside while you stand in the yard, then recruit others to be distractions outside. Expect to stay a bit closer to him when you first add a hard distraction - like another dog walking past, a walker, kids playing in the yard, balls being tossed. Imagine what types of things he may one day see outside and choose distractions that are at least that difficult to practice this around. Expect to practice this as often as you can, along with Come for several weeks, not just a couple of sessions, until you get to where he is completely reliable with distractions like dogs and kids in your yard and the door completely open. A final activity you can practice is walking around places like your yard or a field and changing directions frequently without saying anything. Whenever he takes notice (at first because the leash finally tugs, but later just because you moved), then toss a treat at him for looking your way or coming over to you - without calling him; this encourages him to choose to pay attention to where you are and associate your presence with good things on his own, so he will want to be with you. The combination of practicing door manners, Come, and willing following works best. For many dogs practicing door manners with the long leash the was I described is sufficient but some dogs also need e-collar training not to bolt through doors to gain reliably. The training is done the same way with a long leash, but every time the dog crosses the thresh hold or tries to bolt, while you are rushing toward them to get them back you also stimulate the collar to give a well timed correction. In that scenario you would also use clicker training and rewards for staying inside to teach him what NOT to do (rush outside) and what he SHOULD do instead (stay inside). Anytime you want him to go outside with you, give him a command at the doorway that means it is okay to exit, like "Okay", "Free" "Outside", "Heel", or "Let's Go". Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 3, 2022

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Bennett

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Mixed

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6 Months

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I am trying to teach my dog the “off” command and haven’t seemed to make any progress. I have to crate him every time I eat or cook in the kitchen because he puts his paws up on the back of my chair, the other chairs and the counters. He does the same thing if I’m on the couch so I have been working on it in that situation too. When he jumps up I say off and give him a treat when his paws touch the floor, but he just jumps up again a few seconds later. How can I be sure he knows that he should be off, and that I am not just rewarding him for jumping up? Is there anything else I can try or should I just keep doing what I’m doing?

Oct. 18, 2021

Bennett's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I would continue your Off practice, I would also add the Leave It command from the article linked below for pup to learn not to jump to begin with. Leave It method- the first part of that method that involves food. Gradually work up to pup leaving harder foods alone - like kibble - treats - chicken - hotdogs - until pup can leave food on the floor alone when told that command while you are there to enforce it and prevent pup from grabbing it. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite For surfing that is happening while you are out of the room, I recommend creating an aversion to jumping on the counter or chair itself. There are a few ways to do this. You can place something like a scat mat on the counter and put a food temptation further back on the counter just out of reach - when pup jumps up the mat gives a static shock - nothing harsh but its uncomfortable and surprising. You can also set up Snap Traps covered lightly with unfolded napkins. When pup touches them on the edge of the counter, they will jump up and make a snapping sound - startling pup. These are designed for this type of purpose so won't actually close on pup like real mouse traps would - don't use real mouse traps because of the risk of injury. You can also stack metal pot lids and pans precariously on the counter. Tie a strong string like twine through all of them and back tie the whole contraption to something secure so that when they fall they can't fall all the way off the counter, then tie another string to the lip or pan that's supporting the precarious set up and tie the other end of that string to a safe food booby trap, like a whole bagel sitting on the counter. The idea is that when pup jumps up and grabs the food, they will pull the objects over and create a loud crashing noise that will surprise them. Because of the back tie string the objects should not fall on pup though. With all of these setups, you will need to set up a camera to spy on pup from the other room and be ready to run in and remove any food left on the counter or floor, so that pup doesn't return to the scene of the crime once things are calm and eat the food anyway - otherwise they may decide that its still worth it to jump up. You will need to practice this setup often with pup in different parts of the counter and with different foods. Don't use any food that could harm pup if they were to eat it - like chicken bones, grapes, chocolate, xylitol, nuts, garlic, or onion. When not practicing the trap, keep counters clean and pup confined away from the area or tethered to you with a hands free leash until pup has thoroughly learned the lesson - jumping up and not being surprised and potentially grabbing food, will negate your training efforts - you want pup to think that the counter is always suspicious now so they give up on jumping up. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Oct. 18, 2021


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