If you have a “sofa dog,” it can be nice to curl up with him or her in front of the TV, and if you’re away, he or she may also find comfort on the couch because it smells like you.
Dogs are “pack” animals and think of their human family members as pack mates. When you allow your dog on your sofa or bed, instinct tells them they are equal or above the humans in the pack hierarchy. This may lead to territorial behaviour.
Behavioural problems are much more common with sofa dogs than non-sofa dogs.
- If your dog is allowed on the sofa with you, be prepared for him to jump up and make himself comfortable when guests are over too.
- Wherever you take your dog—such as to a friend or relative’s house—he will expect the same rules to apply.
- Consider that you might change your mind about sofa privileges if you have a newborn in the house.
- It’s easier to start off with stricter rules than introduce them later on. If you’ve already been allowing your dog on the sofa and would now like to stop, it’s not too late.
Here's how you can change the rules:
- Start by earning your dog’s respect through obedience commands—such as “sit”, “stay”, and “down”.
- Then begin consistently redirecting your dog to a different spot such as a dog bed. Dog training involves consistency and repetition, so stick with it and don’t give in.
Allowing your dog on the sofa is just a matter of preference. Whatever you decide, make sure every member of your family sticks to the rules.