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You have brought home your new best friend, and he is fluffy and furry. He is sweet and wants to sit on the couch with you because he is so in love with you and just wants to be everywhere you are. Many dog owners start off allowing their puppies on the furniture and then regretting it later. When an adult dog takes over the entire couch leaving you wondering where you get to sit, you may regret not training your puppy to stay off of the furniture sooner.
Some dogs, on the other hand, are too small to sit on the couch alone. Without pet steps to help them safely get off furniture, small dogs tend to try to jump on the couch or are left on a couch and then fall off or jump off, causing injuries. The best way to avoid this is to train your puppy at a young age to stay off of the couch at least wait until you invite him up. This will help keep him safe while also following your rules and remaining obedient.
Discouraging sitting on your couch is going to require consistency and training by introducing your puppy to what he could do and reminding him that he's not allowed to do so. Start training your puppy to stay off of your couch as soon as you bring him home. He's going to want to go wherever you go, including your furniture. Another way to encourage your little guy to not sit on your couch is to give him an option of a better place to be beside your couch. Give your dog soft, comfortable bedding in your family room near your couch so he can be with you but not right next to you. Allow him to sleep in that room and place toys in that room so he can visit with you when you are in that room alone or with company.
Conditioning your puppy to stay off of your couch will take some time and practice. You may consider scheduling a few training sessions throughout your day to remind him of the rules keeping them fresh on his mind all day long. Be sure to have that special place set up for him before you set your expectations with your pup. Reward-based training for positive behavior is a great way to train a puppy. Redirect when he chooses not to follow your rules and reward him when he does a good job and is obedient and off of your couch.
The Dog Bed is Better Method
If you do not yet have a dog bed for your little guy, go get one. If you have the option to take your dog with you when you shop for a dog bed doing so will, at least, get him excited for the process because he’ll get to go for a ride and go into the store and then watch you set it up at home.
Once you’re home with your dog bed, get your dog excited by allowing him to watch you set up the bed. Give him a couple of treats while you set it up and place his toys in the bed.
Place a dog bed for your dog somewhere near your couch. He will want to be with you when you are sitting on your couch, and when you are not, he will want a comfortable play to sit or sleep.
When in room
When you go to the room where your couch is located, take your dog to his bed first before you sit down on your couch. Encourage him to stay by giving him a treat and using the command word "stay".
Sit with dog
While your dog is first getting used to his new bed, sit on the floor with him giving him excitement and love and attention. Once your little guy is settled on to his bed, sit on your couch alone.
If your puppy gets up from his bed and tries to climb up onto the couch with you, redirect him by taking him back and encouraging him to settle down on his bed.
Each time your dog goes into the room with your couch be sure you are repeating this process so he gets used to choosing his bed first over choosing to sit on your couch.
The Busted Method
Make sure when you are home with your dog to get his attention and let him know you are watching his behaviors. When he knows you’re watching he will begin to expect rewards for positive behaviors and redirection when he’s making poor choices.
Anytime you are home with your dog and you notice him not sitting on your couch, reward him with affection and maybe even a tasty treat.
When you catch your puppy sitting on your couch, redirect him by having him get down or helping him get down and then give him a treat once he has paws on the floor.
Be sure to give your little guy alternative places to sit rather than your couch. You could offer your dog a rug on the floor or a bed where he can choose to sit instead of choosing your couch. When you redirect your little guy, place him on the spot so he begins to understand these are the places he can go.
If your puppy is big enough to start jumping on your couch on his own it is well past time to begin to train basic obedience. Start with basic obedience commands to encourage your dog to respect you and follow your orders. Over time, he will understand his place on your couch as well.
The Command Training Method
Begin to train your puppy the command for 'off'. You can use this command if your puppy gets on your couch to sit down, climbs up on your bed, or even jumps on a person.
Sitting on couch
When you catch your puppy sitting on the couch, say the command 'off,' pick him up, and put him down on the floor.
Do not allow your puppy to see a treat while he’s on the couch. However, once he is on the floor, you can reward him with a treat so he begins to associate the positive reward of the treat to the command 'off'.
Use this command anytime you want your puppy to get off of an object or person. If your little guy jumps on your couch to sit down, use the command 'off' and reward him once he’s down. Use this command for other pieces of furniture as well. You can also use the command 'off' if he jumps on people for attention or if he's large enough to put his paws on your countertops.
Asking your puppy not to do something may sometimes feel negative. You don’t want to scold your little guy when he makes a poor choice but rather teach him the better choice to make the next time. Keep your training positive by rewarding him when you see him sitting somewhere besides your couch.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 04/06/2018, edited: 01/08/2021
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