Having a dog that sheds a lot of fur can make you second guess you’re love of cuddling with Fido on your furniture. Maybe when you brought your dog home as a puppy, he was just too cute to deny him a spot on the couch. Or maybe you just bought a new couch and you want to avoid premature damage.
Whatever your reasoning may be, the task of training your dog to stay off of the furniture can seem daunting, especially if they have already been accustomed to leaping up at their free will. There are generally three methods that you can use either separately or in combination.
Depending on where your furniture is, closing a door or using a baby gate to block access to the room with the furniture, especially when you are gone will help to get your point across. If blocking access to the room altogether is not a possibility, using boxes, laundry baskets, or other large items around the house to act as a space holder will prevent your dog from jumping up. When you are home, you can block access with your body, by taking up as much space as possible so there is not a spot for your dog to sit.
This method will take a bit more hands-on intervention. You’ll want to allow your dog access to the room with the furniture you want them to avoid, and watch them for queues that they are going to jump on the furniture. Once they make their move, approach your dog with a treat in hand, use your chosen command (“off” works well since “get down” is similar to “lay down” and might be confusing.), and reward with a treat once the command is understood and followed.
Make sure to be consistent in your training. If each piece of furniture has different rules, enforce them as such. Practice as often as possible and reward good behavior whenever it is shown.
Creating a special spot
Whether or not you plan to keep your dog off of all of your furniture, making a spot that is specifically for them is very important. This could be a dog bed, a corner with a blanket, or the old armchair in the corner. Wherever you chose, just make sure that it is a space just for them that no one else will use.
Introduce your dog to their new special seat by placing either a toy or treat (or both) in the middle of the area. Use the treat or toy to redirect your dog to their spot when they attempt to get up on a piece of furniture. New toys or favorite treats tend to work the best to keep your dogs attention.
The best way to get the training done quickly and efficiently is by using a combination of all three methods. Make sure everyone who frequents your home is familiar with the rules and training techniques and is using them consistently. This is will make sure that your dog is not confused and that everyone uses the same commands. You know your dog’s behavior best, so customize your training technique to best match your dog’s personality.