Last Updated on October 12, 2021 by Marco
There are many reasons for and against letting your dog on the couch. If you prefer the latter, here are a few tips for how to keep a dog off couch when gone to work. Whether it’s because you want to limit the amount of hair and dirt on the couch or because you want to set some boundaries, figuring out how to keep dogs off furniture when not home can be quite useful.
However, there are right and wrong ways to go about it. Many of the wrong ones can either be largely ineffective and frustrating for both you and the dog or they can be outright cruel and inhumane. So, if you feel at a dead end, here are a few tips on how to keep a dog off couch when gone to work.
How To Keep A Dog Off Couch When Gone?
Even though this can sometimes feel outright impossible, there are actually quite a few things you can try and do. There are also quite a few “Don’ts” and we’ll mention those below too.
If you already have a stubborn adult dog this tip can be frustrating to read but it should be said – you want to start as early as possible. Creating a new habit is much easier than having to break an existing habit first. So, if you’re just now getting a pup, it’s worth considering whether you’d want it on the couch or not.
Everything we’ll list below will be many times more effective on a young pup than an adult one. Adults can still be trained too, though, so don’t despair.
Offer An Alternative
The first step many dog owners forget is that you should give your dog comfy alternatives to the couch. If you expect your dog to just lie on the floor or a simple pillow then you either won’t manage to train him or you’ll get an unhappy dog.
Instead, the much smarter and better tactic is to get a few comfy dog beds, preferably one for every room in your house. This way, the dog will always have a great place to rest in and won’t feel the urge to get on the couch as much.
Read more about: Are Wiener Dogs Hypoallergenic?
Another smart tactic is to add some further incentives to the dog bed compared to the couch. For example, you can tie in certain dog toys to the dog bed so they can’t be moved. Chew toys and treat toys are especially good for that.
Obedience Training and Commands
Naturally, you will need obedience training anyway – every dog should pass that. From there, teaching your dog a couple of simple commands can be all you need. The “Off” command is perfect for this – every time you see your dog on the couch, just throw a threat on the floor away from the couch while firmly saying “Off!” and gesturing with your hand. This will create a Pavlovian association in the dog’s mind between the command, the treat, and getting off the couch.
Once the command is properly learned you can start skipping the treats most of the time. Just refrain from getting your dog on the couch just so you can practice – this can teach your dog to start getting on the couch just so you can “practice” getting off the couch. Instead, just wait for the situations when the dog gets up there naturally.
Do you know the tin foil trick for keeping cats off kitchen counters? You can do something similar with your dog and the couch. While tin foil won’t work, you can get a pet-safe scat mat that makes an annoying noise when something’s on top of it. Place this on your couch when you’re at work and your dog just wouldn’t want to get on the couch anyway.
There are also scat mats that create a static shock upon contact. We generally don’t like pain incentives for dog training but as long as the shock is light enough to not be painful or harmful, that’s an option too.
Other budget alternatives include stuff such as car floor mats, removing the couch’s cushions, placing empty laundry baskets on the couch, and so on – anything that’d make the couch inconvenient to be on.
Is Isolation An Option?
If you want to keep a dog off bed while away, there’s an easy solution – just close the bedroom’s door. A bedroom is typically placed at one end of the house and closing it won’t restrict your dog’s movement too much.
What about the living room couch, however? Closing the living room will usually restrict your dog’s living space too much. Depending on your house’s size and layout it might be possible to close all rooms with soft furniture off and still leave your dog plenty of space to spend its day in. That’d be rare, however, so going with the above solutions is usually preferable to isolation.
What Not To Do?
As we mentioned above, isolation can often be too restricting and inhumane for the dog. Some owners designed a “dog room” and just lock the dog there all day – these can be very unpleasant and depressing for most dogs. The same goes for dog pens and crates – these are meant for short-term isolation, not for a whole day. Only do this if the space you’re providing your dog is large enough.
Many other owners resort to verbal and physical abuse to teach a dog not to sit on the couch. Needless to say, that’s also a big No-No. Dogs learn best through positive reinforcement. While it’s technically possible to teach a dog not to do something with negative reinforcement, you’ll typically need to make your dog very unhappy to get there – and that’s not just the point of having a pet, is it?
4 Reasons To Learn How To Keep A Dog Off Couch When Gone
- Less dog hair on the couch
- No dirt and debris on the couch
- No wear and tear on the couch
- Teach more dominant dog breeds that you are the alpha at home
The last part is especially important for large and powerful dominant breeds. If you ever notice your dog growling or teething when you try to remove it from the couch, that’s a clear sign that the dog thinks it’s the alpha of your household. Some immediate obedience training is due if you want to avoid an accident.
3 Reasons To Let The Dog On Couch When Not Home
- No hassle with scat mats, off-couch training, etc
- Good place for bonding
- Snuggle time!