For many families, having a dog snuggled up on the couch with them is like a dream come true. But not all dogs are suited for spending time up on the furniture. Some dogs can be messy or hyperactive, can destroy sheets, blankets, or pillows, or become territorial or aggressive when posed with the task of sharing the chair. Pet hair can also be an issue. Families with dogs who don’t make great pillow pals are more likely to want to keep the furniture a dog-free zone and that’s okay too. Lots of dogs are more than happy to cozy up in their own bed or on a nice area on the floor. But if your stubborn old dog who may have been let up on the furniture more than once is now fighting you when you’d prefer him to stay off, there may be a bit of retraining to do.
Older dogs can get accustomed to things being this way or that, but when things shift around and change, it can be hard to readjust to the new setup. Getting new furniture is a common reason for families who used to allow their dog up with them to now let Fido know that his place is in his own bed or on the floor.
An older dog may be hesitant, at first, to change the way he’s used to doing things, but with some persistence, he can adjust in time. There are a few different ways to convince your dog that the furniture is a place that he isn’t allowed and each of them require some consistency. If half of the people in your home let him up on the couch and the other half don’t, it can be difficult for him to adjust properly. So keep this under consideration when training him.
Training your dog to stay off of the furniture consists of two parts: the act of staying off and the reward received afterward. The floor or your dog’s bed should be comfortable and enticing. It’s hard to trade a good thing for a boring or bad thing. You’ll want your dog to be eager to sit or lay elsewhere. The good news is, this is relatively easy and should only really take a few days for your older dog to adjust.
Consider purchasing a new bed or pillow for your dog to enjoy instead of your furniture. If he has a nice place to rest, he’ll be less likely to take over your spot on the couch. Keep in mind that older dogs require softer material to sleep or lay on. Their joints and body can stay healthier for longer if provided with appropriate beds.
Then find your dog’s favorite treat or toy. Having something to distract or occupy him on the floor will make it easier to adjust to that space instead. These tools will help your dog realize that the furniture belongs to you.