How do I train my Australian Shepherd to stay off the couch?
So, you busted your furry friend, comfy and day napping, on the brand new furniture. It is time to teach him the dog-friendly way to move from the furniture. Australian Shepherds like to get comfortable when they are tired or need a break, naturally when they see the opportunity to snuggle up on a soft couch with their human, it often proves to be too great of a temptation to resist.
There is nothing wrong with allowing your Australian Shepherd to hang out with you on the couch….day cuddles are our favorite thing….but not everyone enjoys sharing all of their space with the furry ones. Once your Australian Shepherd has the taste for the good life it can feel like an endless battle to try to keep him off the couch.
I have found the following tips will show you how to keep your Australian Shepherd off the furniture and help him to understand where he should be hanging out instead.
Do I share or not share my furniture?
The decision to share your furniture with your Australian Shepherd is a personal one. If you don’t mind the extra fur and a dirty paw print on your cushion every once in awhile, it is a great way to spend more quality time with your furry best friend. However, there is an important exception: the Australian Shepherd who thinks he “owns” the couch. If your dog has even growled or barked at you to keep his spot on the furniture, or gets hyped when you try to move him over, it is time for his couch privileges to end.
Start off on the right foot….or paw!
Consistency is very important when keeping your Australian Shepherd off the furniture. Make sure everyone in the household is in agreement to the “no dogs allowed” policy. Part-time privileges can be confusing for your pup and make it harder for him to understand the rules. It is best to keep him off the couch from the very beginning, starting when he is a tiny puppy, because it is much harder to un-train the behavior once he has gotten used to it.
Make sure he has a place of his own.
If you make the decision to keep your Australian Shepherd off the furniture, make sure he has a comfy alternative. Instead of giving your pup a boring flat style dog bed. Opt for a super comfortable one with plenty of plush fabric for warmth and security. Keep the bed close to where you hang out and it is best to invest in a few beds to keep in your primary living spaces such as the kitchen, bedroom, living room and even the bathroom. You can make his special bed even more enticing by having a treat-filled toy in it. You can also attach a hard rubber toy, filled with peanut butter, to a nearby table leg or other piece of heavy furniture that is close to your dogs bed. Your Australian Shepherd will soon understand that yummy things happen when he hangs out on his own bed.
What do I do when I have to leave the house?
Does your Australian Shepherd jump on the couch the minute you leave the house or go to bed? The best way to deal with that is to make the furniture inaccessible and less enticing. You can keep your Australian Shepherd off the couch by placing a baby gate on top of the furniture, using laundry baskets to block off the cushions, stacking books or magazines near the edge of the couch or pull the cushions up so they are vertical. An inexpensive idea is to purchase a car floor mat and place it upside down on your furniture. The gripping teeth on the bottom of it will make the couch feel prickly and uncomfortable. You can also try blocking the room off completely or putting your Australian Shepherd in a crate…or as we like to call it “their house.” Make it impossible for him to get on the couch in the first place by buying something called the Couch Defender that looks like a tunnel that you can put on your furniture.
Training your Australian Shepherd the “off” cue.
This is a dog-friendly way to get your dog to move from the furniture. You will take a small treat and throw it on the ground a few feet away from the couch where your dog is resting. Say “off” and make a sweeping motion with your hand as your dog moves from the couch. Saying the cue as your dog is doing the movement is a way of creating an association between his action and the cue- you are teaching your Australian Shepherd sign language in a way. If possible, immediately lead your dog to his bed, give him a treat, and lots of praise/love for going to his bed instead of the couch. If your pup tries to jump on the furniture, ask him to go to his bed instead. Always make sure to acknowledge your Australian Shepherd any time he chooses to sleep on his own bed instead of the furniture.
Training your Australian Shepherd is about strengthening your bond with him, not scaring him into doing what you want so harness the fun positive ways to get him to do what he is told. Good luck teaching your dog the furniture rules!