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Training puppy not to jump on furniture

(27 Posts)
mixedpeel Sat 02-May-15 21:45:41

We have a young pup, nine and a half weeks old. We'd talked about training her not to go on furniture. However she has other ideas. She's little at the moment, but has still made it onto the sofa already by using an unwitting child as a step. Obviously my DS got her straight off, but what are people's thoughts on this?

Are we on a hiding to nothing, and may as well give in now? If not, any good tactics for newbie dog owners?

She's a staffy cross, if that makes any difference. (A friend with staffies calls them Sofa Dogs...)

tabulahrasa Sat 02-May-15 23:07:07

Teach her an off command and reward her for getting off, do that every time she gets up.

There's no harm in letting her on the sofa...if you're happy with her there, but you do want to be able to get her off on command either way.

KatharineClifton Sun 03-May-15 13:24:22

Whether it is a good idea is totally dependent on the dog's nature. I had a girl who was totally devoted to only me (adopted her at an older age and she took to me in particular). She wasn't allowed on sofa purely because she then growled at kids if they deigned to sit on sofa with me as well. Other dogs have been fine.

Also of course, a puppy will find it a lovely place to have a little wee, and chew up all the cushions.

villainousbroodmare Sun 03-May-15 13:37:22

I think it's ideal not to allow your dog onto furniture. It keeps your house so much cleaner, white bedlinen stays white, an ironed shirt on the bed is safe and you don't find yourself struggling with the inconsistency of "clean paws fine, dirty paws disaster" which confuses and upsets dogs. Also, it allows you to bring your dog to other people's houses where he will then be much less likely to upset anybody or get in a row with the resident pooch. It also has a psychological impact; elevation is associated with dominance in dog body language (think of the dog who puts his head or paw over another's shoulders) and it tends to reinforce humans' superior status if they are physically higher than the animal.

However, it is undeniably lovely to snuggle up beside your dog in front of the fire.

We got around this by very often sitting on the floor beside him.

It is very difficult to have a designated dog sofa. If a dog is allowed on any furniture at all, he tends to regard it an his right to be on anything of that height.

To train a dog to stay off:
Be utterly consistent
Remove the dog or correct instantly if you see them getting up
Reward instantly for the correct response
Reward frequently and randomly for using their own bed, ESPECIALLY if they go there of their own volition
(The clicker is absolutely ideal for this as it allows remote acknowledgement of the dog doing something great. Ideally click and treat and leave the dog on his bed.)
Make sure they are not isolated (sit beside them often - this has actually become my usual seat now)

Cassie258 Sun 03-May-15 13:39:52

We simply got DDog off every time he got up. He never stopped wanting to come up so as long as he 'asks' rather than just jumps on then he's allowed. With the very occasional evening where we don't let him up, just to remind him it's our decision not his. grin

villainousbroodmare Sun 03-May-15 13:46:05

To me, it's the "never stopped wanting" that would break my heart. Hence the only way that works for me is iron consistency, sitting on the floor (with sometimes a numb bum smile) and a dog who no more considers climbing onto the sofa than he would onto the kitchen table.

villainousbroodmare Sun 03-May-15 13:52:36

Incidentally, we also have a foster puppy, a very over-indulged Peke, who adapted totally within two days to the "no furniture" policy which had not applied in her own home. We live on a farm so she is frequently up to her elbows in mud, and she would certainly not be afforded any privilege denied to our own dog. She is deliriously happy with us and I will hate to see her go.

We also have a cat, who is permitted on certain items of furniture (sofa, chairs, beds), primarily to give her a bit of peace from the dogs. She is not allowed on any kitchen surface and has never ever even attempted to access these.

My point is that you are the boss and don't need to resign yourself (especially at this v early stage) to any liberty that doesn't sit well with you. Your dog will be very happy irrespective. Have lots of fun with her!

SunshineAndShadows Sun 03-May-15 14:01:40

Your dog wants to be on the sofa for two reasons 1 it's comfy! 2 it smells if her family (you) as its where you sit. To get her to stay on the floor you need to make her bed/the floor as appealing as the sofa and reward her for staying there. This means giving her lots of attention when she's on the floor and rewarding her for being in the place you want her to be

DunelmDoris Sun 03-May-15 14:16:27

Can I please just point out that dominance is a complete irrelevance, both in this instance and in any other dog training scenario you could imagine. Dogs get on sofas for the same reason we do - they're comfortable. If elevation afforded some element of authority then my husband would be in charge of the house. Fortunately being a mere 5'3" hasn't impaired my ability to rule with a rod of iron wink

KatharineClifton Sun 03-May-15 14:21:40

I was trying to post without using 'dominance' as I know it has been discredited. But my Ginger Beast did fit very well into 'dominance theories', including her sofa behaviour and when she used to hump my other dog's head grin

villainousbroodmare Sun 03-May-15 14:29:50

Physical height or elevation is unequivocally one of a number of factors that project status. Clearly you've got all the rest taped, Dunelm Doris! grin

I don't think it's especially important here, but it's indisputable.

Cassie258 Sun 03-May-15 14:52:58

Ha, yes he never stopped wanting to but he loves the cuddles he gets and the comfort of the sofa. He'll come over and if I say no then he's perfectly comfortable to sleep on a cushion/the floor. He just prefers cuddles

Buttholelane Sun 03-May-15 15:35:57

I don't believe that height projects status.
Nor do I believe in dominance theory.

I think some especially obnoxious dogs do well on a NILIF programme but not because they want to dominate, I think they, rather like children, just benefit from some boundaries.

If a dog is acting aggressively at being told to get off the sofa or people getting on, it's not being 'dominant', it simply doesn't want to leave the super comfortable sofa or share.

The fact that some tiny dogs can have considerably bigger dogs completely at their beck and call is evidence enough that elevation is no proof of power in day to day life.

villainousbroodmare Sun 03-May-15 20:10:01

One of, Butt Hole.

KarmaNoMore Sun 03-May-15 20:25:32

I adopted a remarkably problematic dog, we went through three trainers who basically psychoanalised, protected her feelings and cajooled her to obey with treats. Nothing worked.

One week of these five rules did more than hundred of pounds spent in dog trainers and behaviourists:
- never to sit higher than humans
- never to sleep on beds
- never to go upstairs
- never to eat before humans
- never to pass through a door threshold before humans

We didn't shout at her, hit her, or anything of the sort, the above was enough to turn a nightmare agressive destructive dog into an adorable well behaved one. She just needed to know she was not in charge.

I really don't care if dominance theories are discredited, they worked for us.

So I would say, just put her back on the floor and if she insists, take her out of the room for a few minutes, and repeat until she gets it.

mixedpeel Sun 03-May-15 20:44:36

Wow, thanks everyone. Really useful responses. I think we'll continue standing firm on this one. Yes, we are spending a lot of time on the floor!

Taking note of all ideas. We definitely need a clear command for "off" as I think she's going to be trying for some time. I get how that will work, as we'll be able to reward her for that as well as the occasions she gets into her bed herself.

DunelmDoris Mon 04-May-15 06:56:38

Info endorsed by the RSPCA, Dogs Trust, Wood Green, as well as the major UK and European behaviour and welfare organisations.

Your approach may well have worked Karma but the reason for them working is not because you reduced your dog's rank. It's because your dog learned that in order to access resources it needed to perform more appropriate behaviour.

villainousbroodmare Mon 04-May-15 23:07:44

Ah, Doris, put away the rod of iron, please! grin

DunelmDoris Tue 05-May-15 06:55:11

When vets give incorrect, unscientific and potentially harmful behaviour advice they are doing nobody any favours. If you don't understand it you shouldn't be advising on it.

You might want to look at this paper which came out of Bristol:

NorahDentressangle Tue 05-May-15 07:09:15

never to sit higher than humans
- never to sleep on beds
- never to go upstairs
- never to eat before humans
- never to pass through a door threshold before humans

- surely you could just call these (sensible) boundaries and not dominance.

BabyGanoush Tue 05-May-15 07:20:56

It's up to you

Dogs on sofas are not inevitable

Our lurcher (lurchers love sofas) isn't allowed, and she learned that very quickly. She has lovely soft beddies that are hers, but in our house sofas are for humans.

When I go to Bil/Sil dog is on sofa and guests on floor, as dog growls if you try to move him from "his bed".

They think I am cruel not letting mine on sofa.

Horses for courses

It is your decision. Just be consistent.

villainousbroodmare Tue 05-May-15 08:14:17

Of course you could, Norah.

DunelmDoris Tue 05-May-15 08:28:02

Very good point Norah - that's why the flawed concept of dominance has hung around so long. But the science behind it doesn't hold water and when people online claim they're professionals and hand it out as advice then they're overstepping the mark.

KarmaNoMore Tue 05-May-15 14:27:43

I guess then that Norah and I are over stepping the mark by allowing ourselves to have an opinion.

Isn't that a bit "dominant" on your part to claim that, Dunelm? grin

Takver Tue 05-May-15 14:41:57

I've never had a dog that's been allowed on furniture, and it's never been an issue to teach them - much less hard than teaching them not to jump up, for example.

No scientific basis to this, but I suspect if you in your own mind are 100% certain 'dogs don't sit on people furniture' then it's not a big deal. I wouldn't sit on my dog's rug, nor are children allowed to do so - that's his space, and I have mine.

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