Whether you are starting from scratch training your puppy or trying to break old habits, teaching dogs to stay off the furniture can feel like a challenge! Between not knowing what your dog is doing when you aren't home, to sending clear signals to your dog about when it's appropriate to be on furniture, this training can often take a while.
If you've been looking for a clear training regime to keep your emotional support dog off of the furniture, you're in the right place. This article will review not only how to keep your dog off of your furniture when you're there giving commands, but also when you are out of the house and are not there to reprimand.
Before you can get into training your emotional support dog to stay off of the furniture, it's important that you've provided a comfortable alternative for them. Often dogs will sleep on couches or beds because it is the most comfortable spot in the house. If you are providing them with a bed or couch that's just theirs, they are less likely to jump on your furniture.
Once you have a comfortable spot for your dog, you are more likely to find your training methods more successful because they won't feel like they need to be on your furniture in order to have a comfortable place to rest and sleep. This will make your efforts sustained even when you are not around to actively engage in training.
For those who are trying to train their dogs to get down off of furniture, keep in mind that if your approach is to simply yell at your emotional support dog and push them off the furniture, this may not stick with them when you are not home. Instead, they will relate laying on the furniture to it only being unsafe when you are home.
Instead, start by choosing the words that you want to consistently use in your training. You could start on the floor and say "down" or "off", when your dog jumps down give them praise and give them the treat. Continue this method every time they are on any furniture so that they relate getting down off of furniture to praise and treats.
If you are sitting on the furniture that they jump up on, throw a treat a few feet away from the couch and say either "down" or "off" with a sweeping motion with your hand. This is teaching them what you want from them when you say that word or make that hand motion and again are relating this with positivity.
If you can, lead your dog to their bed immediately after this and reward them with a treat and lots of praise. This tells your emotional support dog that they are in the right for going to their bed instead of your furniture! This also shows them that they can still spend time with you from their own bed.
If you are noticing that your dog is still jumping up on the couch the second you leave the house, simply make the furniture inaccessible for them. This could look like flipping the cushions up, placing boxes on top of the cushions, or using a gate to block off rooms where they like to utilize the furniture.
You can even close doors to bedrooms so that they don't jump up on the beds. By creating barriers and making these spots inaccessible to them, they will start to learn that that is not their place and they will have no other choice than to get used to sleeping in their bed all the time.
This is a very important step to take to send consistent signals to your dog that the furniture is not for them.
If you are allowing your emotional support dog on your bed sometimes, but are yelling at them other times, then start to train them, but give them access to the bed when you are not home, they are going to be confused about your messaging.
This is going to undermine your training success and only cause more frustration for you and your dog. When you start training them to stay off of the furniture, you have to also be committed to making your furniture inaccessible when you aren't around and not being lenient about certain pieces of furniture for the sake of cuddling.
Your dog will continue being inconsistent with jumping up on your furniture with you if you sometimes allow it but get mad at them other times. If you want to give your dog cuddles and lay with them, make their bed a safe place to do that! If you have an extremely affectionate dog, this may help them warm up to their bed faster!
When you are first trying to get them to use their bed, you could lay with them on there and show them that they can be comfortable and still get love from you on their bed.
Training your emotional support dog to stay off the furniture is most often challenging when you are not being consistent with the messages you are sending to your dog. It is important to consider your dog's perspective when you are assuming they are simply being defiant. Genuinely ask yourself if you are being clear with them or sending mixed signals.
If you realize that you are making your furniture accessible when you are away but yelling at them when you are home, you may see where your dog is becoming confused about what you want from them when it comes to your furniture.
Finally, if you do not have a single dog bed in your home, the issue may not be that your dog is not obedient but rather that they do not have a comfortable place to sleep and they have found that the only way they can lay comfortably is on the couch.