You’ve compared hundreds of different sofas, looked at a wide range of fabrics and finally made the decision to buy a new sofa. Once it’s assembled in your living room, you discover that your dog likes it even more than you do.
From seemingly endless amounts of hair to scratches on your sofa’s fabric, dogs can leave some annoying side effects when they use the furniture. Train your dog not to use your furniture from the beginning, however, and they’ll stay on the floor.
If you’ve recently bought a new sofa or armchair and want to keep your dog at arm’s length to avoid causing any damage, use the tips and techniques in this post to train your dog so that it understands your living room furniture is off limits.
WHY DO DOGS LIKE RESTING ON YOUR FURNITURE?
If you had the choice between sitting on the floor or on your sofa, which would you choose? Just like us humans, dogs like to relax on sofas and armchairs because they feel much more soft and comfortable than the floor.
Just like you get into the habit of sinking into the sofa after a long day at work, your dog can quickly develop a habit for sleeping on the sofa or armchair during the day, especially when you’re not around.
Since habits are hard to break, it’s important to train your dog not to use your living room furniture right from the beginning. If you let your dog rest on one sofa, they’ll repeat the same behaviour even if you replace the sofa with a brand new one.
There are two keys to training your dog to stay off the furniture. The first is that you need to be completely consistent, right from the beginning. The second is that you’ll need to give your dog an equally comfortable alternative place to rest and relax.
SUCCESS. Been training the dogs to stay off the furniture and Bean went straight to his own dog bed. pic.twitter.com/P5YNfmXHnT— Shannon Miller (@notthegymnast) 19 January 2014
MAKE YOUR SOFA LESS COMFORTABLE FOR YOUR DOG
If your sofa feels soft and comfortable, your dog will naturally find its way onto it if you aren’t around to stop it. After all, wouldn’t you do the same if you were given a choice between hard flooring and a luxurious leather sofa?
The first step in convincing your dog not to rest on the sofa is to make the sofa less comfortable for your dog. If your dog gets on the sofa while you’re around, gently place them on the ground it so that they understand they aren’t allowed there.
That’s easy, right? But what about when you’re not around? Since you aren’t there to place your dog on the ground when you’re out of the house, you need to make it less comfortable for your dog to rest on.
You can do this by stacking other furniture on the sofa. A good idea is to place a pair of chairs on the sofa, preferably with their legs facing upwards. This makes it harder for your dog to find space to relax on the sofa, making them give up on using it.
Another good way to make your sofa less dog-friendly is to use a special deterrent mat. These mats fold out along your sofa and emit a loud noise when you dog gets onto the sofa, causing them to quickly get off and stay away from the furniture.
GIVING YOUR DOG A COMFORTABLE PLACE TO REST AND RELAX
Making your sofa less comfortable and accessible for your dog is only the first step in keeping them off your furniture. The second step is creating a cosy, comfortable place for your dog to rest and relax.
If your dog has nowhere else to rest but on your sofa, it will keep trying to get up on the sofa no matter how much you try to stop it. Create a comfortable bed and you’ll notice that your dog gives up on resting on the sofa since they have a space already.
There are several ways to create a comfortable space for your dog. You can purchase a pre-made dog bed online for your dog to sleep in, or you can create your own with some soft foam and a blanket.
Once you’ve given your dog a comfortable place to rest, you’ll need to train your dog to make sure it naturally uses its bed instead of the sofa. Start by taking your dog to its bed whenever it tries to get up on the sofa so that it learns where it can relax.
Over time, your dog will start to use its bed naturally. If you notice it walk to its bed instead of the sofa, reward it with a treat or its favourite chew toy. This will help the dog form habits and prevent it from climbing on the sofa in the future.
KEEPING YOUR FURNITURE SAFE WHEN YOUR DOG ISN’T TRAINED
Training your dog to not rest on your furniture takes time, and it’s best to keep your new sofa or armchair protected during the training phase. Use a slipcover to prevent your dog from accidentally damaging your sofa while it’s still learning.
If you’re training your dog not to go on beds, tables and other items, it’s also a good idea to block off certain doorways using dog gates. Over time, you’ll notice your dog learning which items are and aren’t appropriate to climb on.
Finally, if you have one sofa that’s off limits to your dog and another that’s less of a concern – possibly an older, worn sofa – you can train your dog to use one sofa and avoid the other. This compromise is good if your dog likes resting in the living room.
DOES YOUR DOG KNOW WHAT FURNITURE IS OFF LIMITS?
Teaching your dog which furniture it is and isn’t allowed to use is an effective way to avoid furniture damage while keeping your dog happy. Use the steps listed above to train your dog and keep it off the furniture, even when you’re not home.
If your dog has already developed a habit of sleeping on the furniture and you want to keep it off in the future, follow the steps above to retrain your dog and keep your furniture free of hair, stains and scratches. Once you've kicked their habit and after the damage has already been done, then it might be time to invest in a brand new sofa! Whether it's leather or fabric we have many sofa styles for sale to choose from.