How to Train Your Dog to Stay Off the Sofa

When training your dog to stay off the sofas there are a few simple rules that should be followed to optimise your success. Firstly, it important to ensure that everyone in the family follows the ‘no dogs on the sofa rule’ as failure by anyone in the family to enforce this rule is likely to result inĀ  nothing but confusion for the dog. In addition to this, it is also important to consider what will happen when the dog is left alone in the house – what areas of the house will you allow the dog access? Ideally, you don’t want your pet to have access to sofas or chairs while you are out of the house as this could cause further confusion for the dog by creating a situation where it is able to sit on the furniture without reproach. In addition, this confusion could result in hostility from the dog when attempts are made to intervene and remove the dog from the sofa.

As well as setting basic ground rules as outlined above, it is also important that everyone in the family reacts in the same way when the dog jumps on the sofa, which it inevitably will do at some point during it’s training. The important thing to remember here is that you are training your dog to behave how you want it to behave, therefore compliant behaviour should be rewarded. Some people make the mistake of punishing the behaviour that they don’t want, and thus by punishing the dog each time it jumps on the sofa, they risk instilling a sense of fear and possible hostility within the dog.

Essentially, it is important to realise that instead giving a negative response when the dog jumps on the sofa, you should gently coax the dog back onto the floor and give it a treat when it complies – positive behaviour should gain positive rewards. Also, as tempting as it may be to either lift, push or drag the dog off the sofa, this is not recommended as it may result in a negative response from your pet. The only time it is advisable to lift the dog off the sofa is if the dog is still a puppy in which case they are at risk of causing damage to themselves by jumping from high objects.

So far we have looked at the various methods that should be used in conjunction to help your dog realise that the sofa is out of bounds. These methods are most effective if they are put in place when the dog is a puppy; however they can be equally effective when used consistently with older dogs too. But the one strategy that is the most effective in keeping your dog off the sofa is by ensuring that it has a comfortable place of its own to sit, such as a cushion or a padded blanket, and, as always, your pet should be rewarded when it uses its own special “doggy seat”.

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