How to Prevent Your Dog from Jumping on the Sofa
Depending on the underlying problem, you may need a training or intervention plan to stop your dog from jumping on the couch. The following recommendations are made to prevent a dog from jumping on the couch due to underlying causes.
Teach your dog the “Leave It” command.
The leave-it cue can teach a dog not to approach an object. Hence it can also teach a dog not to jump on the couch. It serves a “preventive” purpose, preventing the dog from jumping up rather than dealing with a dog that has already done so.
Teach your pet the “off” command
Training your dog the “off” cue is beneficial since it communicates precisely what you want him to do instead of what you don’t want him to do. Here is its training method.
- Allow your dog to jump onto the couch first. If your dog is not jumping up, schedule your training sessions accordingly.
- Say your verbal cue “off” and then toss a reward or kibble with a downward motion onto the floor.
- Say “yes” or click your clicker as soon as your dog leaps off the bed or couch before taking the treat/kibble.
- Repeat this exercise multiple times whenever the opportunity arises to make it a game.
- At some point, begin to say “off” but without actually throwing the treat. Act as if you are throwing it with your downward hand gesture. Say “yes” or click the clicker when your dog leaps down, then feed him the reward, but this time drop it from your other hand. Your last objective is to say “off” and cease throwing the treat/kibble.
- Repeat the preceding exercise and gradually transform the food-throwing hand motion into merely pointing at the ground and then feeding the treat from your other hand, dropping it to the ground when your dog hops off.
- Now is the time to increase the criteria and add a new obstacle. There may come a time when you need your dog to get off the couch but have no goodies. Start incorporating praise without giving goodies, or use alternative rewards such as giving a favourite toy, racing to the backyard to play, grabbing your dog’s collar or leash, and taking him for a walk. Most canines immediately rush when they notice their collar and leash. However, do not discontinue all rewards and goodies since this may result in the habit fading away.
Prevent access to the couch when not training
Many dogs learn not to jump on the couch when their owners are around, but they will jump when the owner is absent. This can hinder your success in training your dog not to jump on the sofa due to inconsistent reinforcement (a changing reinforcement schedule).
To prevent inconsistent reinforcement, the sofa must be inaccessible. To make a couch less tempting, you can lay bulky items such as boxes of notable books, folded chairs, or laundry baskets.
Some dog owners cover the couch with an upside-down plastic carpet runner with the rough side facing up to make it less enticing. In contrast, others turn the couch against a wall or confine their dog to a separate location (in another room, behind a baby gate).
Recent praise has been lavished on a device that consists of plastic mats with spikes that dogs automatically avoid walking or jumping on. These plastic mats with spikes are practical without the undesirable side effects of shock that prior versions of scat mats provided.
Give your dog his own sleeping space.
You want to offer your dog his sleeping room, and you also want to make it as pleasant as possible. Choose one that will make the couch appear uncomfortable in comparison.
Instruct Your Dog to Lie Down on His Mat
Aim to train your dog to lie on his mat and deliver treats there so that he identifies the mat with positive associations.
If you own a Velcro dog, place his bed or mat next to you, against the sofa. Your dog will like resting or sleeping next to you and feel like a family member.
Relocate the Sofa Away From the Windows
If your dog utilises the sofa to observe the outdoors, relocate the sofa away from the window. This should also lessen any barking connected with external stimuli.
Purchase a “Buddy Bunk”
The Buddy Bunk can help dogs that jump on the sofa because they want to be closer to their humans, need a high spot to retreat from other pets, or feel safer on “higher ground.”
Why your pet jumps onto the sofa
Below are some common reasons why dogs do it, along with the likelihood that they are the primary cause.
It is confident that it will be rewarded.
It may have been performing this behaviour because it knows it will be rewarded. If you offer it extra attention, food, or toys when it jumps on the couch, it will likely jump on the couch more often to receive more rewards.
Instead, it would be more effective to refrain from praising the dog when it jumps on the sofa, train it not to do so, as illustrated below, and attempt to redirect its attention when it is ready.
It may do so because it finds the couch comfier than other locations. This is more likely if your dog does not appear to be doing it to obtain something from you, if it frequently lays on the sofa while you are not around and if it does not have many other places to lay down. In this instance, it would be beneficial to give it its bed and train it to lay down on it.
It may do so because it is boring and seeking ways to stimulate itself. This is more likely to be the case if your dog does it more frequently when it has been unable to exercise and calms down after obtaining some. It would be beneficial to ensure that your dog gets the required daily exercise for its age and breed.
It may be attempting to attract your attention for this purpose. This is more likely to be the case if your dog does it more frequently when you have been providing it less attention and if you tend to pay more attention to it when it does it.
This behaviour may stem from its affectionate nature. This is more likely if it does it more frequently when you are on the couch if it does not provoke a reaction from you, and if it attempts to lie down with you on the couch.
When the Dog’s Presence on the Sofa Is a Problem
Numerous dog owners may not want their pets on the sofa for various reasons. Perhaps they have an expensive sofa and do not want loose hairs on it. Perhaps they are concerned that their dogs will urinate or defecate on it. Some owners may not want the couch to absorb dog odours, or they may not want their dogs to dig or chew on the furniture.
Another reason is that certain dogs may sustain injuries while jumping from heights. Small dogs can hurt their joints by jumping off furniture such as beds and couches. Small dogs can safely ascend and descend couches with the assistance of doggy steps.
In some instances, dog owners may desire to prohibit their dogs from leaping on the couch out of concern that it may cause them to “dominate” the household. Thankfully, the notion of the alpha dog and dominance has been dispelled, and we now know better.
While jumping on the couch will not cause a dog to become dominant, certain dogs may act protective of the couch if they are predisposed. Such dogs should be prohibited from leaping on the couch to prevent them from practising undesirable behaviour. Lastly, some dog owners may not want their dogs on the couch for hygiene reasons or because they wish to enjoy a movie in peace without Rover sitting on their lap or begging to be petted.
We all tend to ignore our pets when they are behaving well and respond when they become troublesome. Changing this perspective towards managing your dog, identifying alternative behaviours you prefer, and aggressively encouraging them can be extraordinarily beneficial.