Should You Allow Your Dog on the Furniture?

Should You Allow Your Dog on the Furniture?

Absolutely!  Although I say that without hesitation, there are some exceptions and conditions that must be met if you’re going to allow your dog on the furniture.

  • Make sure they are only allowed onto the couch or bed when invited.  There are going to be times when you don’t want them automatically jumping onto the couch and snuggling right up against your friend who is scared of dogs or getting hair all over your Sunday best.  If your dog jumps up without permission, have them get off of the couch, sit, and then invite them back up.  The consistent enforcement of this structure will lead to your dog “asking” for permission.
  • Make sure they know how to get off the couch.  A dog should yield to you and the family, that includes removing themselves from the couch or bed when told to do so.  Make sure that you fully teach your dog a skill (such as “get off” or something similar) that will clearly communicate that you want your dog to get off of the furniture.
  • Make sure your dog is not guarding the furniture.  If your dog is one the bed and growls at you every time you enter the room, do not allow them to remain on the furniture.  If your dog growls, nips, or bites you when you reposition yourself in bed or on the couch or when you try to remove them from the bed, it’s time to go.
  • Make sure there is balance is your relationship.  Those dogs lacking a strong leadership presence do not need access to the furniture right now.  I would also implement a no couch or bed rule for puppies and new dogs coming into the home (for a few weeks).  As the relationship between you and your dog gets further established or when things start to improve, you can revisit the issue but the furniture is something that I feel needs to be earned.
If your dog meets these conditions, go ahead and take that well-deserved nap on the couch with your pup!  If not, contact an Austin Dog Trainer to help create some structure, boundaries, and improved communication with your dog!

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