A Great Dane learns to get off the couch.

(Photo credit: Cavan Images / Getty Images)

It can be frustrating when your dog hops onto the couch. Luckily, there are many things you can do to help keep your dog off the couch while providing them with their own space to relax and cuddle. Try out some of these training techniques the next time your dog decides to leap onto the furniture.

Training dogs to stay off the couch

A good first step is to establish a set of boundaries for your dog. Dogs thrive on routine, so It’s important to be consistent with training boundaries. If you let your dog on the couch sometimes, but not others, they may be confused as to what rules you’re putting in place. 


Boundary training is a great way to teach your dog what is off-limits. You can set up baby gates in rooms you want them to avoid completely. Or, place a barrier around the couch temporarily. From there, reward your dog if they avoid the area, show interest in things other than the couch, or lie down on their own bedding or designated spot. You can then remove the barriers over time, rewarding when your dog continues their good behavior.

Teach basic commands

Teaching commands such as “come”, “off”, “sit”, and “stay” can also help. These commands set your dog up for receiving positive rewards instead of punishing them for bad things — such as jumping on the couch. 

When training, use a high-value treat your dog enjoys. This can include training treats, freeze-dried liver, or even pieces of lunch meat. A high-value treat will make the reward (the treat) more enticing than the action (being on the couch). This will encourage your dog to stay on the ground instead. You can practice having your dog sit or lie down near the couch. Then, reward them for remaining calm and on the floor. If they do leap onto the couch, use the “off” command to get them down. 

Some dogs are incredibly smart. They may figure out that getting on the couch and then listening to your “off” command gets them a treat. If this occurs, it’s best to work on alternative methods of training. Reward them for lying on a mat on the ground near you instead.

Provide alternative spaces

Making your dog’s bed more enticing is another excellent way to keep them off your furniture. If your dog enjoys being near you, set up a bed next to the couch to give them a space to relax. You’ll want to make the space extra inviting. Hide treats or kibble in the nooks and crannies of the bed to encourage exploration and use. Or, give them their favorite puzzle or chew toy every time they lie on it.

You can also work on mat training to get your dog used to going to their space when you sit down at yours. This can be done by guiding your dog to the bed and rewarding them with a treat when they show interest or touch it. From there, you can have them lie down on the bed. Finally, ask your dog to “go to bed” or “go to your mat”.

Creating a dog-friendly home

By setting boundaries, training some useful commands, and giving your dog their own space, they’ll be less likely to hop onto your furniture. Now that you know how to train your dog to stay off the couch, read up on how to dog-proof the rest of your house. You can also check out our tips for dog-friendly interior design!

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