You Can Have Your Couch Back Now
No matter how much you love your dog, you may not love fur, dirt, and scratches on your couch. Many owners who taught their pups to “come on up” now wish their adult dogs would just stay down.
Maybe you prefer your dog to only jump on the furniture when invited. Or, maybe you’ve established those rules, but you notice that whenever you’re not in the room, your dog knows the couch is there for the taking! (It only takes one piece of fur in the threads to know he “cheated” on you, right?)
The Good News.
It’s not so hard to get your dog off the furniture in a positive and loving way. You just have to change his motivation. Follow these 5 steps to get your couch back:
- Purchase a very comfortable dog bed, ideally with sides your dog can lean up against and curl into. The bed does not have to be fancy, just cozy.
- You’ll also want to purchase a clever bumpy mat, called an X-Mat. These mats are harmless, but uncomfortable to lie on, the perfect tool to assist with your goal. Get however many X-Mats you need to cover whatever furniture you want to be off limits. X-Mats are very easy to find and order online. (You might have something around the house you can use instead. But, I like the way you can slide the X-Mat behind or under the couch when you’re in the room, and quickly pull it out and lay it down whenever you’re not around to supervise.
When the bed arrives, make an excited fuss over how wonderful it is. Bring it near the furniture you want your dog to stop going on and place it down on the floor there. You are going to make this the new, exciting, and better resting place that your dog now chooses over the furniture.
- Rub your hands and feet on the resting areas of the new bed, so that your scent gets absorbed into it. Toss a few treats into the bed and then give your dog something delicious to chew by placing it right in the bed. For example, a stuffed Kong, a marrow bone, or any other treat you have identified as a safe favorite. It’s okay if your dog takes the chewable item from the bed to somewhere else, but place it in the bed to start with.
- You can also put an old t-shirt, sock, or towel with your scent on it in the bed. This is something that smells like you that your dog can chew on, play with, or cuddle into. However he decides to enjoy that item, always return it to the bed if he takes it out from there.
The final steps are simple, you just need to repeat these two:
1) Give your dog fun treats and chewies in his new bed once a day or more. Start out doing this when you’re in the room with him, then begin leaving him alone with his treat in his bed.
2) Whenever you are not on the couch, put an X-Mat down there, making sure to cover any part of the furniture your dog would normally like to rest on. It is critical that you cover the couch with an X-Mat every single time you are not there to take up the space or supervise your dog’s behavior. This sets up the ideal situation – the dog makes his own choice that his bed is the best possible place to be.
Follow these steps with total consistency and within 2 – 6 weeks, your dog will have become addicted to his bed, and forgotten about the couch. After 6 weeks (max), you can put away the X-Mats and expect your dog to go to his bed as a matter of habit and preference. Enjoy your clean couch with a happy, comfy pooch at your feet!
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