Pet Expressway for Dogs

The Couch

The Couch

Dear Labby,

My favorite pastime is to sleep on the couch. The couch is my spot of choice.

I do everything on the couch. I cuddle with my family, chew my bones, nap, groom myself and play with my toys. I am 1 year old and It has been this way my whole life, until recently.

Now when I jump up on the couch to lie next to my person, she squeals and yells at me to get off of the couch. It hurts my feelings and I don’t understand. But I keep trying.

When she goes out and leaves me home alone, she actually puts a chair on top of the couch. What’s up with that? It makes it impossible for me to lay on the couch. But I keep trying! I do not understand what is going on.


Clearly Confused Collie



Deer Clearly Confused Collie,

I’ve seen this scenario before with pets and their people. It’s bad news. Are you sitting down? Your person never ever, ever again wants you to be on the couch. You are, how do I say this, ‘Not Allowed’ !!

I know this is devastating. Especially since you perform all of your favorite activities on the couch. And I know this is unfair because you have been allowed on the couch since you were a cute 8-week old puppy. But now that you are a 60 plus pound full Coated Collie your person does not find your affinity for the couch to be it to be so cute.

From her point of view, you are too big and you probably shed. The people we live with my set the rules clearly and consistently from the beginning of the relationship. If your person did not want you to be on the couch once you were a full-grown adult, then she should never have allowed you on the couch when you were a baby puppy.

None of this is your fault. In order to make you understand that the couch is 100% off-limits, I recommend your person do the following.

The only way she is going going to make you understand that you are no longer allowed on the couch is by doing some training with you. Here is one example of what she could do.

Training – The Shake Can

She can use a training tool called a shake can or a penny can. It’s basically an empty soda can with 20 pennies in it. She should also buy you a dog bed and place it near the couch. If she finds you on the couch, she should position herself behind you, and in a low-pitched, abrupt voice say ‘Off”, while she shakes the can.

Her positioning will allow you to safely jump off of the couch upon hearing this noise & her command. Once off the couch, she should praise you and redirect you over to the dog bed. Then she should redirect you to lay down on the bed, give you a treat, and lavish praise.

With this training method, she is showing you that lying on the couch is ‘the wrong thing’ but laying on the dog bed instead is the ‘the right thing’.

The command “Off” can also be used to teach dogs not to jump

In a short time, you will adjust to the couch being off-limits and you can go back to having clear communication and a loving relationship with your person. If it is any consolation Clearly Confused Collie, I don’t think Lassie was allowed on the couch either!

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Keith Byrne

Keith Byrne

From an early age Keith has been around dogs. He has been involved in dog grooming, dog walking, dog sitting and dog showing as well as voluntary work in animal shelters. His aim is to help all dog owners especially newbies learn about dogs and care for them in a loving, caring and fun way.


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