Teaching the Dog To Stay Off the Furniture..or “ON” the Furniture!

IMG_0047-768x1024In my house this is the common scene, the dogs sitting on the couch.  Problems arise when either my husband or myself want to sit on the couch, or heaven forbid when company comes.  We allow it, so it is our own fault that we are in a war over the best seat.  Our dogs are Mastiffs and being so big they need extra comfort.  (Doesn’t that sound like a good reason!!  LOL!)  Many owners don’t want there dogs on the furniture, but their dogs don’t understand that.

Dogs get on the furniture for a number of reasons.  They want the comfort, it elevates their position, and they want to be where your scent is the strongest.  You have a couple of choices to better your situation when your dog, such as ours has proclaimed “King of the Couch”.

You can give in (as we have) and put a towel down for the dog to lay on.  They can be taught the only time they are allowed on the furniture is when the towel is in place.  Otherwise it is off limits.  When teaching this, you must be very consistent, always the same rule.  You must also make sure that everyone in your household is following the same rules.  So stick to your guns, no towel, no couch.

If the dog is just looking for comfort, especially common in dogs that are older or have arthritis, buy them a comfortable bed or mat to lay on.  Place it by the furniture that they often jump up on.  Teach them to make the choice of their bed, not your best chair.

Is the dog jumping up to see out a window or a door?  If so, close the drapes or blinds.  Something such as a specific sound or visual trigger may be causing the dog to jump up to further investigate.  Especially if it is always around the same time.  Maybe it is the mailman or the ups truck .You can also reward an incompatible behavior.  Teach your dog “off”.  Pick a specific chair just to be used for training.  Teach your dog to jump on it by saying “Jump”.  Reward the dog.  Remember there will be times that you will want your dog to jump, for example, into the car, on a table at the vets, and so on.   Now teach the dog “Off”, and reward them.  Remember try not to use the word “down” as it will confuse them if you use the “down” command for them to lie down.    If your dog is hesitant to get off, help him, and reward him the second all four paws are on the ground.  Repeat this training as much as possible and your dog will quickly understand the two commands of “jump” and “off”.

You can also place items on the couch or chair that your dog is jumping on to discourage him when you are not watching.  Most dogs do not like the feel of metal.  You can therefore place a cookie sheet, or cake pan on the spot where the dog keeps jumping.  Some dogs will become smart to this and figure out how to push it aside just to get that comfortable spot back!  You can also buy in many pet stores or online, an alarm.  When the dog jumps on the furniture, the alarm sounds and scares the dog to jump back off.  He then associates the furniture with this sound and often avoids the situation completely.  I personally don’t like or recommend that.  Training a dog by scaring them is not a good tactic to get into.  I just felt that I needed to share it with you, in as I am sure you will see it on an infomercial somewhere, and wonder about it.  You can also put pieces of aluminum foil on the furniture, but that really isn’t very fashionable when company is around!  You can even get a large cardboard box and put it on the chair.  There is no room left to jump on it, so the dog stays down.

As always, teach the dog what you expect and be consistent.  If you would like help teaching your dog to stay off the furniture call Kim Paciotti at 704-877-7821 or email kim@trainingcanines.com  Visit our website at www.trainingcanines.com and visit us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Training-Canines-LLC/

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