Dogs come into our homes as fun, furry, sweet, and cute family pets and they see where we hang out the most, on the couch. They believe, as part of our family, they should just hang out on the couch as well. Many dog owners do not want their dogs on the couch at all unless they invite their dog. So, you may not want to come home from work or walk into your house and see your dog lounging on the couch. However, you may want to chill out for an evening movie with your dog in your lap or laying near you on the couch. Your dog will not always know your rules and why they differ for different times, but you can teach him to stay off of the couch unless you invite him up there.
Training your dog to stay off of the couch unless he is invited is something your dog will understand over time. Be consistent with your training, so he understands he is allowed on the couch if you tell him he is allowed on the couch, but otherwise, the standing rule is that he is not allowed on the couch. This will probably be the toughest thing for your dog to understand because from your dog's perspective, sometimes there's a rule of no couch and sometimes there's a rule of ‘okay you can go on the couch.’ Also, be consistent with your rules, so he understands when you are on the couch and you invite him, he might be allowed as well. However, if you are not on the couch, he is never allowed either. This will take lots of repetition and patience from you both.
We would like to train Abby to come onto our bed when invited (like on a slow morning during the weekend) without having her think she sleeps with us at night. Is there a way to do this? Thank you!
Hello Acacia, The clearest way to teach her to stay off the bed is to never allow her, but many people want to be able to do what you also want and allow her on the bed at certain times. It will take a bit longer, but you can teach her the "Up" and "Off" commands. Practice encouraging her onto your bed while you say "Up" one time each time you invite her. To encourage her, say her name and pat the bed and talk to her in a cheerful tone of voice. The first two sessions that you practice this give her a treat or a toy when she jumps up. Right after she jumps up and eats her treat, then tell her "Off" and lure her off of the bed with a treat, then give her the treat as soon as she gets off. Practice having her "Up" and "Off" until she will do both quickly without being shown the treat first. After she understands "Up", then practice these commands but only give her the treat for the "Off" command obedience. When she gets "Up" simply praise her. If she will not get off when you tell her "Off" after she has learned the meaning of the word, then attach a leash to her while you practice this and let it drag. When she refused to get "Off" when told, then quickly grab the leash and rush her off of the bed. Do it quickly enough that she does not have time to stop and think about resisting you. Only give her the treat for getting off willingly. After she has learned these two commands, then tell her "Off" and make her get off any time that she gets onto the bed or tries to get on when you have not told her "Up". She is only allowed on the bed when told "Up". Keep a drag leash on her around the house when you are there to supervise her if she has trouble always listening to your "Off" command so that you can quickly enforce your command. When you are not home, if she tends to get on the bed if out of a crate, then you can boobie trap your bed with something that moves or makes noise when she jumps onto the bed. There are several pet products that do this, choose the one you feel will work best to deter her without injuring her. It simply needs to make the bed surprising and uncomfortable for her. To prevent a habit of her jumping onto the bed during the night while you are sleeping, you can also crate her in your room at night in a spot where you will later put a dog bed down for her. Crate her in there at night to establish a habit of sleeping there while you work on the rest of the training. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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