How to Keep Your Dog Off The Couch

How to Keep Your Dog Off The Couch

When you adore your dog, but just can’t stand the shedding fur all over your sofa, it may be time to train your four-legged buddy that this piece of furniture just isn’t a welcome place for him to be. These tips for keeping your dog off the couch are tried and true, provided that you’re consistent and patient …


Training is crucial to your dog following your rules, and if you’re unable to start teaching your dog that the couch is off-limits right from puppyhood (for instance, if your dog is an adult rescue, or you’ve already had her for a few years), you will probably need to do some re-training. From the moment you see your pet hop up onto the sofa, sternly say, “Off!” while gently nudging her down from her perch. Ideally and whenever possible, do not use your hands for this, but rather a leg, foot, arm, or your whole body, as dogs often associate human hands with playtime, toys, treats or petting, and won’t “get it” that they are being redirected.

You may need to invoke further methods of training that involve gentle correction, such as shaking a can filled with rocks or coins or using a water spray bottle. Be consistent, and do this each and every time you see her there, and she will get the message. It’s also very important to take action the moment you see her there or, even better, the moment she jumps onto the couch. If you wait even 15 seconds, she won’t understand why you are correcting her.


Perhaps you don’t mind it if your dog occasionally joins you on the couch — you just don’t want him there all of the time. In this case, use it as a reward for good behavior, as you would with other aspects of training, like sitting politely for feeding time and heeling while on a walk. When your dog lies down on the floor as you sit down to watch TV, reward him with a treat and praise him for being on the floor. A minute or two later, you can invite him onto the couch and love on him. After a while, command him back onto the floor and once he is there, give him another treat and some praise. With this exercise, he gets the message that he can come up, but only when you say so.

To get him off of the couch using the reward technique, use a cue word and toss a treat so that he knows that he only gets it when he gets off the couch. Be sure to either move to the vacated spot or follow up with another activity, so your dog doesn’t immediately try to return.

Block Access

One of the simplest ways to keep your dog off the couch — particularly when you’re not home to monitor her — is to make it seem impossible for her to get up there. (Notice the key word there: “seem?”) When the sofa is topped with uncomfortable blockages such as laundry baskets full of stuff, full gallons of water, or boxes, your dog will seek out other, more accommodating places for her nap. Just be sure that whatever blocking item you use is heavy enough that your dog can’t easily nose it out of the way.

Regardless of the method you try, be sure to provide your dog with a comfortable alternative in the form of a doggie bed all his own!

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