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The best way to keep your dog off the couch is to never let her up to begin with. However, we all know how difficult it can be to deny those puppy eyes and sweet, sweet cuddles.
But you’ve made the final decision that your dog is no longer allowed on the couch and you want to ensure she stays off, starting today. Here’s a complete plan with tips and tricks to keep your dog off the couch.
Consistency is key
When you’ve made the decision not to allow your dog on the couch anymore, it’s important to be firm and never let her up again. If you sometimes let your pup on the couch but not other times, she won’t understand when she is and isn’t allowed up, making successful training more difficult.
Make sure all family members are on board and can consistently follow the rules as well. If the dog hops on the couch, have her get down right away. We recommend teaching a command that tells her to get down, which leads us to our next point.
Rather than picking up your dog and putting her on the floor every time she jumps on the couch, train a command that encourages her to jump down on her own. Using tasty treats, say the command and toss treats on the floor to teach her that this word means “get off of the couch.”
Give her a comfortable spot of her own
When telling your dog to get off the couch, you’ll have the most success keeping her off if she has a good alternative option.
Step 1: Provide a super cushy, comfy dog bed near the couch so your dog has a comfortable place to relax while still being close to the family.
Step 2: Train your dog “go to your bed” or “place” to associate a verbal command with going to her bed. That way, you can redirect her any time she’s about to hop onto the couch.
Reward desired behavior
Always reward your dog for doing the right thing. If she goes to her bed without being told, give her a treat. While you’re hanging out and watching TV, randomly toss treats to her bed to continue rewarding the desired behavior. You can also show your dog that the floor is a fun place to be by occasionally hanging out with her down there.
Make the couch undesirable
If the couch isn’t a comfortable place for your dog, then she won’t be interested in getting on it anymore. There are several ways to decrease your couch’s appeal when you need to leave your dog home alone.
- Flip up the cushions: If there’s no comfy cushion to lay on, why get on the couch?
- Use chairs or other large, uncomfortable items: Lay your broomstick, bar stools or any other hard objects across the couch to make it undesirable. With so many awkward obstacles in the way, your dog would likely rather lie in her own bed.
- Tin foil: Most dogs and cats find tin foil very unpleasant; the noise and reflectiveness can be a deterrent to keep pets off the couch.
- Office chair mat: Cut it to fit your couch and lay the mat spiky side up.
- Other products: Items like the Couch Defender and X-Mat are designed specifically for the purpose of keeping pets off the couch.
Block access to the couch
When you’re not home or unable to supervise your dog around the couch, you can set up a barrier to prevent access to the couch and/or living room. Use baby gates to restrict your dog to certain rooms of the house, or set up a foldable baby fence around the couch.
Optional: Get a couch cover
While you’re in the training process, you may want to protect your couch in the meantime, as you know your dog can be sneaky and will still find ways to get up. A cover can help protect your couch from hair, dirt, and wear and tear from a dog jumping on and off.