It’s a common misconception that allowing dogs on the furniture will “ruin” their temperament. There is no magic respect switch that is flipped in a dog’s brain when they are not allowed on the furniture, and we’ve seen thousands of dogs maintain perfectly sweet and polite dispositions while enjoying the couch and bed with their people. No use depriving them just because that episode of the Dog Whisperer said so. Instead, think of it as a personal decision.
If you wish to share the couch or bed with your dog, that’s ok! Just keep in mind that, like all other rewards, couches and beds are a privilege best controlled by the humans in the house. Here are some simple tips and guidelines on how to do just that:Some people don’t mind furring up the couch for a little extra snuggle time with their pets, while others prefer dogs stay off of their nice furniture and remain on the floor. There is no right or wrong to this. If approached properly, most dogs will see furniture as nothing more than what it is: a comfortable place to cuddle with their family or a zone in the house that is simply off limits to them.
All dogs allowed on furniture should be taught an “off” cue so they can be asked to move politely when needed. This is simple to teach and makes it easy for your dog to understand that just because they are allowed up on things, doesn’t mean they own them.
To earn access to the couch or bed, ask for a simple sit first. After a nice sit, invite your dog up as the treat ! After a brief snuggle on the couch, then you have the perfect opportunity to practice off. Get a treat and hold it to your dog’s nose. Say “off” and guide them off the couch. When four land on the floor, give them the treat and praise with “good dog!”