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how to keep dog off couch

The essentials

  • Dogs get on furniture because they want to be close to you — Your couch is warm and cozy and smells like their favorite human. 
  • Consistency is important — If you don’t want your dog to jump on your couch, you need to stick to that rule.
  • Find an alternative location — Give your dog a comfortable space to sleep. A doggy bed is a great option.

It’s not uncommon for dogs to jump on their owners’ furniture and make themselves at home there. And while some owners are happy with this arrangement, others prefer a little more legroom.

Unfortunately, evicting your furry friend from your furniture isn’t always easy. 

But we do have some good news. If you’re ready to get your cozy space back, there are a few strategies you can use to make your couch a dog-free zone. Keep reading to discover our top tips for keeping your dog off your couch.

How to keep your dogs off your couch

Try one or more of the ten strategies below to help you reclaim your couch (or any other furniture in your home).

1. Create an alternative comfortable space

Your couch is probably soft and cozy, so it makes sense that your dog would want to sit on it with you. 

If you want to stop your pup from jumping on your furniture, you’ll need to give them a comfy alternative.

Think about your dog’s sleep options. A cold tile floor won’t be appealing for most, so you’ll need to give them a special spot of their own.

Dog beds or dog couches should be big enough and easy for your pet to climb into. If your dog wants to be near you, consider placing their bed in the living room or the bedroom floor — wherever you spend the most time.

Also, you can give them a blanket on colder evenings to make their bed even more snug.

There are plenty of pet bed options to choose from. In fact, the pet furniture market in the U.S. is huge. The industry is set to hit $307.6 million in value by 2025, so you can expect plenty of brands offering up their dog bedding products. 

2. Be consistent

Stopping your dog’s unwanted behaviors requires consistent training.

You have to stick to the rules you establish — changing your mind will give your dog mixed signals. For example, you shouldn’t tell your dog they can’t jump on the couch one night and invite them up to snuggle the next. 

Each member of your household needs to be on the same page if you want to achieve this goal. Even if your pet gives you those “puppy dog eyes,” it’s important not to give in.

If your dog does try to jump up, redirect them to their own space.

3. Start early

It’s always easier to train a dog from puppyhood — before they have the chance to form bad habits. If you can, let your dog know what the house rules are when you bring them home. 

Crate training can help, especially if you start during the puppy months. When you confine your dog to a specific area, they’ll get used to sleeping in their own space. 

You can do the same with an older dog, too (e.g. you adopt an adult versus a puppy). Crate training an adult dog — or training them in general — may take a little more work, but this is where consistency comes into play.

4. Be positive

Dogs respond best to positive reinforcement techniques. Punishing your dog can make them feel anxious. Instead, give them lots of praise when they do the right thing and reward good behavior with treats.

For example, if your canine companion goes into their own bed when you ask, you can say, “Good dog!” and give them a bite-sized snack as a reward.

5. Use a leash

If you need more control over your dog indoors, a leash will help you direct them where they need to go. You can teach them what areas are allowed and keep them away from your furniture.

Indoor leash training (sometimes known as umbilical cord training) is best suited for puppies. You can use the leash as guidance, like mentioned above, or you can keep your dog attached to you using a long leash so you know where they are at all times — which means they aren’t on the couch!

6. Choose a cue

When you train your dog, you should associate the behavior you want with a verbal cue. This will be a basic command that your dog learns through repetition.

The cue should be easy to remember. For example, if your dog jumps up onto your furniture, you can say “off” or “get down.” You can also use the cue when they put their front paws on the furniture but before they jump.

You’ll also need a bed command for when you want your dog to go in their own bed. “Go to bed” or “bed” are commonly used cues by pet parents.

7. Block off the area

Another way to break the habit is by making the furniture inaccessible. 

There are different types of barriers available, depending on your personal needs. Baby gates are a good to create “no-go” zones in your home. 

Alternatively, you can place something on top of your couch — a stack of pillows, a laundry basket, or something else that may deter your dog from jumping up since the space is “taken.” Sheets of aluminum foil or bubble wrap can also make the couch unpleasant for your dog, as the texture and sound can bother them. 

However, keep in mind that if your dog is a chewer, aluminum foil and bubble wrap are choking hazards. In that case, one of the other options might be best.

8. Keep your dog in your line of sight

Some dogs may only jump on your furniture when your back is turned. If you have an especially cheeky pooch, try to keep an eye on them when you’re at home by closing doors so they’re in the same area as you or using the leash training we mentioned earlier.

You can’t be with your dog all the time, though, and you may find your dog jumps on the couch when you’re out for the day. You can set up a motion sensor camera and get an alert when your dog sneaks up for a snooze on your favorite chair.

Look for a device with two-way talk capability, like a Furbo, so you can talk to your dog while you’re out and about and ask them to hop off the furniture like they’re supposed to.

9. Avoid eating on the couch

It’s no secret that dogs love food. So if your pooch sees you snacking on your couch, they may be tempted to jump up next to you, hoping for a bite to eat. And when you leave the room, your dog may climb up and sniff around, looking for scraps.

While your dog is learning your boundaries, avoid eating on the couch. While movie night won’t be the same without popcorn, this small sacrifice will make it easier to reach your dog training goals.

Frequently asked questions

What can I put on couch to keep dog off?

Using unpleasant physical deterrants like bubble wrap, aluminum foil, or even double sided tape (so long as it doesn’t damage your furniture) can help prevent your pup from venturing up onto the couch since they won’t appreciate the texture or sound. You can also try placing large pillows or other objects on the couch to take up space and prevent them from getting comfortable.

How do I keep my stubborn dog off the couch?

If you have a rather stubborn pup who seems to find ways onto the couch when you aren’t looking, using tether training, closing off doors, or using physical barricades may be the best option.

Why does my dog always get on the couch?

Dogs love comfort just like we do. Plus, the couch likely smells like you — they’re favorite person. The warmth and familiarity makes the couch the perfect place for them to relax and catch a snooze.

How do I train my dog not to sit on the couch unless invited?

This can be tricky, as it can be easy to send a dog mixed signals. Start by training your dog the “off” command to tell them when to get off the furniture. If they jump up on the couch on their own, ask them to get down and go to their bed or their “place.” Once they seem settled, if you want them on the couch with you, you can invite them up with another command such as “hop up” or “it’s okay” as a release for them to join you.