Tips for Keeping Dogs Off Furniture

Dogs relish in an opportunity to be close to their human companion but oftentimes we do not want them with us on the furniture. Here are a few tips and techniques for keeping dogs off furniture.

Establish Dominance

Dogs who are allowed on the furniture assume they have the upper hand in the household. According to pack order, dogs who choose where they rest of sleep are at the top of the heap and the others are left to fend for themselves as submissive members. Make it clear to your dogs that being on the couch or other furniture is by invitation-only, and subject to your whim.

Letting dogs sleep in bed with you or spend excessive time on the coach can lead to dominance issues that escalate to outright disorderly conduct further down the road. It is best to start out on the right foot by not allowing your puppy or dog on the furniture in the first place but rather providing an alternative.

Provide a Place for Your Dog to Rest

Dogs enjoy the comfort of a couch or chair, and oftentimes joint pain or other ailments make it uncomfortable for them to be on the floor. Place some warm bedding or a kennel with bedding near or in the same room where the family gathers most often or where the dog was getting on the furniture. By giving your dog a nice place to rest where the family gathers you are including him in your pack but continuing to establish your dominance over him by dictating where it is appropriate for him to rest.

Reinforce Positive Behavior

If your dog is having a hard time breaking the habit of resting on the furniture, don't give up. Always reward the dog when he chooses the appropriate resting place either with praise and attention or with a treat. This helps to reinforce the positive behavior and let's the dog know when he is doing the right thing.

Create Barriers

If other attempts have failed to keep your dog off the furniture, barriers must be made to deter the behavior. Sometimes changing the surface of furniture that the dogs like to jump on can decrease the desirability of the object. Plastic rug runners with spiky plastic tips on the bottom (used to grip rugs when placed over carpeting) can be cut to size and turned upside down to detract a dog from a certain piece of furniture. Scat Mats can also be used to deter you dog from furniture. These can be purchased at most major pet retail chains and emit an electronic "shock" when jumped or stepped on. Use these sorts of devices with caution as they can cause aggressive behavior in some dogs.

The best plan of action to keep your pets off of furntire is to establish your expectations at an early age in the dog and do not faulter. This can send mixed messages to your dog and create aggression issues down the road. Always praise for positive behaviors and provide a comfortable spot just for your dog in order to ensure their lasting participation as part of the family.