Couch Potato: Should You Let Your Dog On The Furniture?

Couch Potato: Should You Let Your Dog On The Furniture?

Beds, couches, and everything in between, dogs are almost always drawn to furniture whether it’s to find a place to nap or, to most owners’ dismay, go potty. 

So as dog lovers, we must ask ourselves the question: do we let our fur babies have sofa privileges or should furniture become off-limits? 

Why Dogs Love It

Like us, dogs like to have a nice place to rest their head and when it comes to feeling safe, comfortable, and loved, there’s no better place than a soft and squishy couch or bed. 

The connection between dog and sofa can also be linked to the bond they share with us. Dogs are inherently “pack” animals and therefore want to be close to their owners. Needless to say, this includes sitting or lying on the same comfy chair or bed. 

With that in mind, you need to decide if you’re fine with them having plenty, limited, or no access at all to your bed or couch.

Cons Of A Couch Surfing Dog

In addition to the guaranteed wear and tear on your furniture as well as the potential mess (hair, dirt, debris, etc.), having sofa privileges can have a few behavioral effects on your pooch.

While it makes them feel like part of the “pack”, it can also cause them to consider themselves equal or even above their humans in the hierarchy. This often leads them to become territorial, resisting any attempt to get them off the couch. If left unchecked, your dog could develop a couch-guarding complex, growling at anyone that tries to sit on the couch with them be it dog or human.

There are also health reasons. We have all seen our fair share of messy dogs but even if your pooch looks clean, they aren’t exactly pristine especially after venturing outdoors. Any parasites and germs they pick up along the way can be transferred to your furniture and unless you give them a very thorough cleaning, letting them on the sofa or bed isn’t recommended.

How To Keep Your Dog Off Furniture

Whether or not you like your dog spending some time on the bed or couch, it wouldn’t hurt to lay down some ground rules. 

Instructing them how and when to get down is the key to keeping them off your furniture. This can be done by teaching the “off” order and directing them to a designated place. Once they comply, promptly reward them with a treat. 

If your dog is still a puppy, it will be easier if they are not turned into sofa dogs to begin with. This can be accomplished in a number of ways.

  • Crate Training - Keeping your puppy locked up in their cage for long periods stops them from getting used to climbing onto your furniture. This can prove useful if you regularly leave them alone in the house without supervision.
  • Avoid The Couch - Whether you want to sit, play, or cuddle with your dog, refrain from doing it on the couch or bed in order to prevent them from associating these items with a fun time.
  • Set Conditions - Your dog will eventually discover the pleasures of a comfy couch or bed so teach them to earn their sofa time by making them perform a number of commands prior to letting them climb. 

Lastly, never punish your dog for getting on the couch or bed without permission. While this may sound counter-intuitive, punishing them will only cause them to be sneaky. In place of punishment, try making other areas such as the floor more appealing by rewarding them for spending more time on it rather than on the bed or sofa.

A Compromise - Dog Beds

Because comfort and security are what draw dogs to our beds and sofas in the first place, a dog bed serves as the perfect substitute to keep your beloved pooch off your furniture keeping it safe from tears and scratches. Not only does it provide the same safe and cozy feeling, but they also come with plenty of benefits for you and your dog.

  • Having their own place makes them less likely to develop a couch-guarding complex and also prevents them from sleeping in places you don’t want them to.
  • Since any fur, debris, and dirt tracks they leave are limited to their bed and its surrounding area, cleaning up after your dog will be a breeze.
  • Most dog beds are tailored to provide optimum support to your dog in order to soothe aching muscles and rest tired joints, especially for large and older dogs.
  • You can easily take the bed anywhere in the house so your dog can always keep you company whether you’re relaxing in the living room or sleeping in your room.

Whether you’re fine with your dog enjoying a little couch time or not, always remember that our dog’s behavior comes from equal parts nature and nurture. Take this into account every time you see a behavior you prefer or don’t like so you can always make the appropriate action. Your dog will appreciate it and you as an owner will be happier for it.

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