Dogs and cats get on furniture for the same reason you do: It’s so comfortable, at least for them. While some people may be happy to have their pets on the furniture, it’s not always a good idea. It can turn into resource guarding. It can annoy fragile, elderly, stuffy, or allergic guests.
In addition, it’s good for pets to have boundaries and discipline in their lives—many pets actually feel safer when they know their limits.
If you don’t want to give your pet unlimited access to the furniture, consider approaching this challenge from several angles:
- Purchase a truly great dog or cat bed that is better than your own furniture. By encouraging your pet with treats to use his own bed, you can save yours.
- Repurpose one old chair as “his.” If you can spare a comfy, stained old chair that is no longer suited for people, throw a cover on it and designate it as your pet’s. (Use treats to encourage him to use the designated chair.)
- Use antirepellent spray like Keep Off!® Indoor & Outdoor Dog & Cat Repellent Spray, which when used daily, will keep your pet away from any “taboo” area.
If you only want your dog on the furniture sometimes, you can choose one of two ways to achieve that goal. First, teach him a cue (“Up!”) to let him know when it’s okay to get on the furniture. This is for cases in which it is a fairly rare privilege. If you don’t mind your dog on the furniture most of the time, teach a cue (“Off!”) for him to remove himself. As soon as your dog gets off the furniture, give him a play or treat reward, or at least sit there yourself.
Cats can be more difficult, as they are seldom impressed by even the most elegant of beds. They may deign to sleep in it but only when they like. To deter them, you have to make the human furniture unattractive.
Most cats do not respond well to “training.” No matter how many times you chase them off the couch, they will jump back on it when you are not home. Try a spray repellent; some people have also had luck using aluminum foil or scattering pine cones. (Cats don’t like stepping on them.)
Do not resort to spraying water on your pet to make him jump off the couch. They are smart enough to know that it’s perfectly safe to jump back on when you and your sprayer are not present. You’ll only succeed in making your pet fear you.