We all love our dogs – that’s a given – but where to draw the line when it comes to pooches sleeping on our favourite furniture?
The Space Sharer
Plenty of us give our four-legged friends free rein to sit on anything with four legs! If this is you, there’s no need to worry. Just keep doing what you do. There’s minimal risk of your dog developing behavioural problems or otherwise. Besides, they love spending time with us, where we sit and relax so, by all means, move over, make room and share your space with your best friend.
What happens if you have a special couch or comfortable chair, or you’d just prefer not to mix your dog with your furniture? What are the best ways to keep the two separate? The first step is giving your dog its own special spot, such as a dog bed, in rooms where you spend most of your time, like the living room, kitchen and bedroom. This will give your fur-baby a place they can ‘own’, where they’ll be comfortable while still being with you. Clearly defining the couch as yours and the bed as theirs means you can meet up for a cuddle, somewhere in the middle!
Command & Control
Some simple training steps will reinforce furniture-friendly dog behaviour. Teach your dog the “off” command, with a finger pointed to where they should actually sit, then give them the clear instruction “bed” to encourage them to go to their bed instead. A small treat will reward them for listening to your instruction, and promote repeat behavior, until that behaviour comes naturally. If you leave your dog home alone during this initial training, it’s recommended to block the dog’s access to the furniture by keeping kitchen, bedroom and living room doors closed.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
If keeping pets off all of your furniture is your preference, then stick to your mantra and make it a house rule that all family members know and abide by. Ensuring you’re all on the same page means your dog won’t be confused by mixed signals, and gives your furniture the best chance of staying pristine!
Exceptions to the Rule
If you change your mind and allow your dog some limited access to your furniture, it’s important to make this clear it’s an exception rather than the norm. You can do this by indicating to your pooch that it can only sit in a particular spot, and indicating that when he jumps up, he should immediately lie down. This underscores that it’s a treat to be up there and, by patting the spot where you want them to sit and being very clear that it’s only that spot, helps them know it’s a privilege. If they’re not listening or being disobedient, remove them from the furniture and start the process again.
Oops! Consult the Experts
Finally, should the inevitable happen and an item of furniture undergo damage from a paw, claw, dribble – or worse, contact your furniture supplier for assistance. Chances are they’ve dealt with these issues before and can expertly advise how to get it back to new (or as close to new as possible!).