Imagine sitting on your couch at night watching a great movie. You are the only person at home but are enjoying your popcorn and quiet evening. You drape your arm over the couch and reach down to give your Spaniel's soft ears a little scratch. He too is sitting on the couch, attentively watching your movie, or at least your popcorn. He is just the right amount of company for tonight, and you appreciate that he is neither in your lap nor splayed out, practically kicking you off of your own couch.
Dogs are such wonderful company, and many people enjoy having their dogs on their beds or on their couches with them. You might enjoy your dog's cuddles and company when you are snuggled up and trying to relax, but you probably don't like it when he is being a bed hog or crawling into your lap while you try to eat your snack on the couch. Teaching your dog how to sit on the couch can allow you to enjoy your dog's company, without having to put up with his antics in order to do so.
In addition to being nice company, having your dog sit on the couch can be cute. Picture your dog leaned back into your couch, staring intently at the cats on TV. It makes for a hilarious photo.
If your dog has ever shown any aggressive tendencies toward you or other family members, then do not allow your dog onto your furniture. Allowing your dog onto furniture when there are issues with aggression can increase possessive and dominant behaviors.
If your dog is generally respectful of your boundaries but you want to ensure that he remains respectful, or if he is young and learning about boundaries still, then you can also work on teaching your dog 'on' and 'off' commands using the 'On and Off' method. You can do this so that your dog will get off the couch when you tell him to, will not get on the couch unless you invite him, and will better understand that the couch is your space and not his. Once you have taught him 'on', 'off', and how to sit on the couch, then only allow him on the couch when you have invited him.
If your dog is timid and afraid of getting onto your couch due to past experience or inexperience with couches, then you will probably have the most success teaching him if you use either the 'Treat Lure' method or the 'Toy' method.
To get started you will need lots of small, tasty treats. Choose something that is non-greasy and non-staining, since it will be touching your couch. You can also cover the part of your couch that you will be training on with a towel or a couch slipcover, to prevent any mess. For all of the methods, you will need a couch to practice on. For the 'On and Off' method, your dog will also need to know the 'sit' command. For the 'Toy' method, you will also need a toy that your dog loves that you can play fetch or tug of war with. If you choose to play fetch with your dog for this method, then your dog will need to know how to fetch a toy. With all of the methods, you will need patience, an encouraging attitude, enthusiasm, and consistency.