Should I Let My Dog On the Furniture? (Train Them Not To Scratch) (2024)

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When we get a new puppy, adopt an older dog, or for whatever other reason invite a dog into our home, one of the first questions we tend to ask ourselves is whether to allow the dog full access to our furniture.

You might have grown up in a household where there were no such rules, or perhaps your parents only allowed the pet to stay outside. Regardless of this, you might want to find out what is best for you, your household, and your beloved pet.

There is no right or wrong way to handle this. As long as you provide love and affection for your dog, set clear rules and boundaries, and remember to include the dog in regular activities, most approaches work well. After that, it’s just a matter of preference and taste.

In this article, we will go over the advantages as well as disadvantages of allowing dogs and puppies on furniture, and we will consider ways to teach our pets the best approach to handling all this.

How Do Dogs Think and Feel About This?

If you think about how your dog might consider the question about furniture, it can open your eyes to a new point of view you hadn’t previously considered. Dogs love their human companions and oftentimes wish to be as close as possible to their owners. They have a deeply rooted tendency, and dogs are pack animals, so their natural instincts drive this thought process.

It goes against their nature to be separated from their pack, and because of this, most dogs love relaxing next to their owners. The same goes for watching TV in the evening or eating dinner: the animal wishes to be a part of most of your activities, possibly even sleeping next to you at night.

Dog training is an activity, so the good news is that if you spend a bit of time teaching your pet where to sit on the furniture and what pieces to avoid, you will not only get cleaner furniture without as much dog hair on it but also strengthen your bond with your pet.

Should Dogs Be Allowed on Furniture or Not?

Depending on how many dogs you own, how large your furniture and home is, and how small or large the dogs are, you might come to a conclusion based on practicality. For example, it might not be possible for your 100 pound Great Dane to sleep in the bed with you and your partner. Or the small terrier might easily find a comfortable place in the couch in between two of its favorite people.

And let’s be honest, having a dog close by for easy petting and increased feeling of warmth and safety is something us humans tend to love as well. In addition, dogs generally tend to sleep calmly for the most part, so the dog owners can often get a good night’s sleep, even if the dog jumps a few times at night.

Depending on your dog’s behavior, you might want to reward good behavior with letting your dog on the couch or other furniture. However, it can be equally important to set off-limits boundaries in the house. No matter how friendly you are with your dog, you should always understand a firm no, just as when you teach your dog to sit or jump, regardless of we are talking about the bed, couch, or sofa.

Reasons Why You Should Let Your Dog on Your Furniture

So when should we let our dogs on the furniture? And what are some good reasons for allowing such a behavior? Of course, this will vary from household to household, but here are some common reasons why people tend to allow their animal companions free roam of the place they live in.

1. Comfortable and Free Atmosphere

One of the main advantages of letting your dog on the furniture is one of comfort and coziness. It provides warmth and safety to both your furry friends and yourself by having the dogs nearby on the couch. You can pet the dog whenever you like, which tends to happen more the closer it is to you, and the dog, in turn, can feel like a real part of your activities.

2. Safe and Happy Living

Often you won’t even notice it, but your hand has reached out to cuddle or snuggle the dog, relieving stress levels in both yourself and the dog. This is because touch like this type produces oxytocin which makes you happy and relaxed. The same goes for your dog as well, it will also experience a pleasing touch, and it will feel part of the pack.

3. In Touch With Changes

At the same time, whether the dog is on the couch watching TV with us or relaxing in the bed, it becomes easier for us to notice any changes in our dogs’ behavior. Perhaps we might feel a different temperature on the dog’s belly than what we are used to, notice a weird lump, or perhaps notice that the dog recoils when we touch it in a particular place.

Related Content:

9 Tips for Keeping Your Furniture Safe from Your Pets (Video)
9 Tips to Make Your Dog Feel Right at Home
13 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Guests with Dog Allergies

Reasons Not to Let Your Dog on Furniture

The main disadvantage of letting our dogs on furniture such as beds, couches, and so on, is one of the hygienic nature. It is no secret that most dogs shed a lot of hair, and sometimes the dog drools or otherwise leaves an undesirable mess in other ways.

1. Dog Hair in the House and on the Furniture

Whether you can live with that is up to you and your family, and potentially also any visitors you tend to have over.One way to help with this issue is by looking for couch covers to drape over the furniture on normal days that you can then remove when you expect visitors.

2. Some Dogs Sleep at Different Times Than You

Another possible negative effect could be the lack of privacy. For example, if your dog is used to sleeping in the bed or lay on the couch with you and your partner, you might find it difficult to send it away when you wish to have some time alone.

3. Following Rules Outside the House

If you travel with your dog to hotels or friends and family, it might also be difficult for the dog to adjust if the new place you are staying does not allow your dogs on the furniture.

Keeping Your Furniture and Carpets in Good Condition

Therefore, it might be a good idea to prepare your dog with a second sleeping area, such as a comfy dog bed, that you can train the dog to use every once in a while, even when you are at home. This can make the transition much easier, and the dog won’t be barking at 3 AM because it is unsure or scared.

It goes without saying that letting your dog roam freely on the furniture in your home will make for more cleaning. From the bedsheets to the carpets and couch materials, everything will be less clean, and the wear and tear will happen slightly faster due to the extra activity of the dogs, compared to just us humans using the furniture.

This is a particular problem area for many people across the world. For example, when your animal loves spending time with you on the sofa, you might consider restricting access or tell your dog not to be jumping on the couch all the time.

It should be fine if you have invited the dog to sit on the couch, but just like with crate training a puppy, your command should be the final word. All in all, keeping dogs next to us on the furniture means we can become more in tune with the dog, and it’s health.

Why Rules and Boundaries Are Good for Dogs and Pets in General

One way to get the best of both worlds is by using dog beds, baskets, and blankets. For example, if your dog loves enjoying TV sessions with your family, consider providing the dog with it’s own blanket for the couch. Then, when you have visitors over, you can just remove the blanket, or place it on the floor next to the couch, so the dog knows where to be, and your guests won’t be covered in old fur.

This can also make the doggie more relaxed when visitors are over since it sometimes can be upsetting for our furry friends to lose their favorite spot to Granny, even though they love her as well. By using blankets, baskets, and dog beds, you can move the dog’s spot around without confusing it.

Another positive from this idea is that you will also keep the majority of hair and fur on the blankets or baskets instead of on the furniture or carpets, thus leaving you to clean less. And don’t worry about teaching your dog this, it will take a very short time for the pet to understand this concept, and it will make your life much easier.

Example of When to Let the Dog on the Couch

Let’s say your golden retriever loves to play outside and brings back the entire world in terms of dirt, leaves, and bacteria from a daily trip. In that case, you might need to be able to command your companion not to jump on the sofa or walk with paws on the carpet.

By having certain rules in place, you can make sure your furry friend won’t get the wrong message. After all, we don’t know what our dog thinks of any given situation, but it should respect our decision. For example, behavior modification can reward you, the owner, when you decide when to cuddle or snuggle or when the animal should be calm and consistent in the behavior.

What to Do When Having Difficulty Dog Training?

When it comes to the bedroom, there are a few other considerations to make. First, everyone needs to get a good night’s quality sleep without interruptions. Depending on your dog’s behavior as well as your household rules, it might be a good idea to try positive reinforcement techniques if you find the pooch is controlling resources personal space or have other behavior problems.

If you are single, there’s a higher chance of you choosing to let your dog sleep in bed with you, and it can provide safety and comfort for both of you. Once you find a partner to share your bed with, however, the animal might have difficulty yielding its favorite position for this new person.And even though your partner might not mind having a dog on the couch, the fact is that it should not be the animal that dictates the rules of the house.

Closing Thoughts About Having a Dog on the Furniture

In this case, you need to be patient and understanding, making sure the dog is allowed time to process this new arrangement. Never be angry at the dog for not getting things right; instead, provide a blanket, dog bed, or basket and encourage the animal to use it by rewarding good behavior and ignoring bad behavior.

The most difficult thing for dogs to understand is when we send them mixed signals. If we are clear with rules of what to do and what not to do, the dogs will learn it all in no time. Just keep being consistent, and don’t give in just because it might be easier at the moment. Good things come to those who wait.

Related Content:

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Should I Let My Dog On the Furniture? (Train Them Not To Scratch) (2024)


Should I Let My Dog On the Furniture? (Train Them Not To Scratch)? ›

Make your nice stuff smell and feel bad (to your pet). Use your pet's extraordinary sense of smell against her to make the chewing or scratching behavior way less enjoyable. For dogs, furniture and other items can be coated with a taste deterrent (such as Bitter Apple) to make them unappealing.

How do I get my dog to stop clawing the furniture? ›

Make your nice stuff smell and feel bad (to your pet). Use your pet's extraordinary sense of smell against her to make the chewing or scratching behavior way less enjoyable. For dogs, furniture and other items can be coated with a taste deterrent (such as Bitter Apple) to make them unappealing.

Should I let my dog dig on the couch? ›

Typically, a dog that digs in furniture displays unwanted dog behavior, not unnatural or naughty behavior. It may be an expensive problem, but it is normal and not a sign of disobedience or spite. Usually, dogs scratch a couch or bed because it is instinctive to dig a big, comfy hole to sleep in.

Is it bad to allow dogs on furniture? ›

In general, letting your dog on the furniture is unlikely to cause problems, behavioral or otherwise. Dogs love to curl up on the sofa, the bed, and anywhere else that's nice and soft. They also like to spend time in their humans' favorite spots.

Why does my dog obsessively scratch the couch? ›

The surprising answer is that dogs scratch and begin couch digging due to their emotional state. For example, unresolved anxiety or boredom can be significant triggers for digging in furniture, as dogs often display this behavior as a way of releasing unwanted emotions.

At what age do dogs stop destroying furniture? ›

Much like human infants, puppies go through a stage when they lose their baby teeth and experience pain as their adult teeth come in. This intensified chewing phase usually ends by six months of age.

How do I stop my dog from destroying things when I'm gone? ›

How to Prevent Your Dog From Being Destructive When Left Alone
  1. Start with exercise every morning. ...
  2. Play cardio games. ...
  3. Give them good stuff to chew on. ...
  4. Set up a space for them. ...
  5. Practice rewarding positive behavior. ...
  6. Consider taking your pup to daycare.
Apr 8, 2022

What are the pros and cons of letting your dog on the couch? ›

This could reduce barking, howling, and whining while also increasing a sense of security. Not letting your dog on the couch can make them seem like an outsider in their own home. Letting your dog on the couch also enables older pets with painful joints or bones to be more comfortable.

Should I let my dog dig in bed? ›

However, unless your dog's nails destroy your blankets, there's no reason to redirect the behavior. A few ways to stop a dog from digging in bed include: Exercise: Many dogs dig for exercise, even at night. If your dog is digging, consider whether or not they've had enough exercise that day.

Why does my dog scratch the sofa before lying down? ›

To mark territory – Like cats and many other four-legged creatures, dogs have scent glands on the bottom of their feet, which secrete a distinct pheromone. Scratching at something can be a way for your dog to show others they have marked a bed as their own.

What percentage of people let dogs on furniture? ›

According to a survey conducted by American Kennel Club (AKC), 80% of the dog owners allowed their dogs on furniture or even in bed. The survey also revealed that 44% of pet owners let their pets sleep in bed with them.

What should you avoid doing to a dog? ›

Here are a few things you should never do to your dog, according to veterinarians.
  • Never allow your dog to run with a stick in their mouth. ...
  • Don't put your dog on a retractable leash. ...
  • Never yank on your dog's leash or use a choke collar. ...
  • It's never a good idea to put sunscreen on your dog.
Apr 6, 2020

How do I train my dog to get off the couch? ›

If you would like to ask your dog to get off the sofa you should:
  1. use something that your dog likes and enjoys such as food or a toy to lure them off the sofa.
  2. reward them once they are off.
  3. use your recall word to call them off the sofa and reward them when they come to you.

Is my dog scratching out of habit? ›

When dog scratching gets out of hand, it is often the result of allergies to food or environmental triggers, including mold and pollen. Dogs may also develop a skin irritation called contact dermatitis when they encounter substances like pesticides or soap. Boredom or anxiety.

Why does my dog go crazy when I sit on the couch? ›

Dogs are “pack” animals which means they think of their human family members as pack mates. When you allow your dog on your sofa or bed, instinct tells them they are equal or above their humans in the pack hierarchy. For some dogs, this can lead to territorial behavior.

What is the most challenging dog age? ›

The most challenging time of raising a puppy is the adolescent period. Dogs become “teenagers” and seem to forget everything they have ever been taught. This period is individual to each dog, but it may begin when he's about eight months old and continue until he's two years old.

At what age is a dog fully housebroken? ›

It typically takes 4-6 months for a puppy to be fully house trained, but some puppies may take up to a year. Size can be a predictor. For instance, smaller breeds have smaller bladders and higher metabolisms and require more frequent trips outside. Your puppy's previous living conditions are another predictor.

What age do dogs get easier? ›

Puppies go through phases, some owners may find things get easier once they have been potty trained, others may not find things improve until their pup starts to mature at 18 months+. There are a lot of variables, including your dog's personality, breed, your approach to training, and whether you can meet their needs.

How do you discipline a dog for tearing things up? ›

When you do catch your dog chewing, stop it with a verbal command or a loud noise. When your dog stops, provide a chew toy. When your dog starts chewing on the toy, provide praise and positive reinforcement. Chew toy choices vary.

Does leaving the TV on help dogs? ›

It Can Help Keep Them Calm

If you are worried that your dog is home with anxiety all day, keeping the TV on can help to keep them calm. You might find that your dog seems much less stressed out when you get home at the end of the day when the TV has been on.

Should I sit outside with my dog? ›

It will benefit him both physically and mentally, help him gain healthy social skills, and develop a stronger bond with you. Taking your dog outdoors helps reduce boredom, anxiety and strengthens your bond.

Should you sit on your dog? ›

You should “sit on the dog” at least once, preferably twice a day, and make sure everyone in the family takes a turn. It may take a little while, but you will find that your dog will settle quietly at your feet, and learn that when he wants your attention, sometimes he will just have to wait.

Should you let your dog in your room? ›

A small study from the Mayo Clinic finds that sleeping in the same room with your pet does not appear to affect quality of sleep. In fact, it may actually lead to a more restful night.

Why do dogs circle before pooping? ›

Your dog is tamping down the grass and chasing away any bugs or other creatures to give it a nice clean place to do its business. The circles allow your dog to get a good, clear view of the surrounding area to make sure there are no threats or predators near by when they are in such a vulnerable position.

Why do dogs circle before lying down? ›

Turning in circles before lying down is an act of self-preservation in that the dog may innately know that he needs to position himself in a certain way to ward off an attack in the wild.

Why does my dog follow me everywhere? ›

If your dog follows you everywhere then it's a sign that they trust and love you and that you make them feel safe. Following you very closely can be a sign that they're bored, they want something, they're feeling scared or are just being nosy.

Why do dogs kick after they poop? ›

Many animal scientists think it's a form of communication among dogs. Ground-scratching has been referred to as a composite signal that involves chemical and visual components of communication. The kicking motion is a visual display for other dogs and may help spread the scent of urine.

Why do dogs sigh? ›

Most of the time dogs sigh when they are sleeping or are feeling relaxed. However, sometimes dogs will also sigh when they are bored or upset about something. Of course, dogs will sigh if they have learned that sighing gets their owner's attention.

Why does my dog lick me so much? ›

One of the most common reasons why dogs love to lick their owners is simply to show their affection. Since you're the one taking care of them, you're essentially their world! When dogs lick, pleasurable endorphins are released into their blood which makes them feel calm and comforted.

How many times a day do you bring a dog out? ›

On average, dogs need to go outside at least 3 to 5 times per day to have the opportunity to relieve themselves. Veterinarians recommend that adult dogs go no more than 6-8 hours between trips outdoors.

What do 70% of dog owners prefer? ›

Over 70 Percent of Dog Owners Admit They Prefer Spending Time with Their Pets over Other People.

Do most dog owners sleep with their dog? ›

According to a recent survey of pet owners by the American Pet Products Association, nearly half of dogs sleep in their owner's beds. The survey found that 62% of small dogs, 41% of medium-sized dogs and 32% of large dogs sleep with their owners.

What annoys dogs the most? ›

7 Things That Annoy Your Dog
  • Hugs. While your furry best friend may not mind getting hugs from you, generally dogs don't care to be hugged by strangers. ...
  • Lack of Toys/Stimulation. Fido is very intelligent, and can quickly get bored and restless with nothing to do. ...
  • Confusing Commands. ...
  • Yelling. ...
  • Teasing. ...
  • Isolation. ...
  • Staring.
Mar 15, 2018

Why shouldn't you let your dog follow you into the bathroom? ›

As long as they don't show signs of anxiety, it's perfectly fine to redirect your dog to another room when you need to use the facilities. But if you don't mind having an audience, there's no harm in letting your dog follow you into the bathroom. After all, you watch them poop all the time!

Is yelling at a dog abuse? ›

However, experts have explained why you shouldn't shout at your dog, and that shouting can actually do more harm then good when trying to teach your pup to be well behaved. In fact, not only is it likely to make them naughtier, it can even lead to even stress and depression.

What smells do dogs dislike? ›

The Smells Your Dog Hates
  • Citrus Scents. Citrus scents top the list of smells your dog probably hates. ...
  • Vinegar. While this non-toxic household substance is safe for use around your home, your dog won't appreciate it. ...
  • Rubbing Alcohol. ...
  • Fresh Herbs. ...
  • Cleaning Products & Chlorine. ...
  • Mothballs. ...
  • Hot Peppers. ...
  • Perfume.
Aug 31, 2022

How do you teach a dog off command? ›

You can train a dog to learn the “off” command using positive reinforcement.
  1. Keep your dog in place. Step on your dog's leash as you did with the stay command. ...
  2. Get your pup ready. Crouch down and get excited. ...
  3. Use the off cue. Any time your dog jumps, say “off.” Use a firm voice. ...
  4. Use positive reinforcement. ...
  5. Repeat.
Jun 7, 2021

Why does my dog not want to get off the couch? ›

Some small dogs may jump on the couch so to have a better view of their surroundings. If your couch faces a window, your dog may enjoy being there because he can monitor what's going on outside. If you have multiple dogs or other pets, your dog may retreat to the couch when he wants to be left alone.

How much dog scratching is normal? ›

Our data across dogs of various ages, breeds and genders shows that the mean time spent scratching is about 100 seconds a day.

Can boredom cause itching in dogs? ›

Many dogs itch when they are nervous, bored, frustrated, or just because it is a habit. Some of the infectious forms of itching in dogs include yeast, fungal, and bacterial infections such as ringworm and malassezia.

Should I be worried about my dog scratching me? ›

It's also a good idea to seek medical attention any time you've been scratched by a dog — especially if the dog isn't your own. In the case of a dog bite, you should seek medical care to rule out the risk of rabies and other potentially life-threatening diseases.

Why does my dog snap at me when I tell him no? ›

For a dog who is acting out of fear or frustration (for example, a dog who is barking and lunging on leash), using the word 'no' to stop the behavior without helping to alleviate their fear or frustration will often lead to an escalation in behavior, such as growling, air snapping, or biting.

How do I calm my dog when dog sitting? ›

Making your dog feel as safe and comfortable as can be is key. Distract them: you can give them their favorite or a new toy, a chewing treat, play some music that will drown out the sounds, turn on the TV or play with the pooch – anything that will keep them occupied so they don't notice the noise.

Why does my dog try to bite me when I sit down? ›

He's communicating with you that he is the boss and he is demanding you respect his space. As anyone approaches they must ask permission to be there. The dog will growl, and eventually snap and bite, in order to correct YOU. He is telling you, as his subordinate, to leave the area, or to get his permission to be there.

How do I get my dog to stop grabbing everything? ›

What to do if your dog is stealing things
  1. Provide physical and mental exercise. ...
  2. Make sure the stealing behaviour is not rewarded. ...
  3. Be prepared for things to get worse at first. ...
  4. Always reward good behaviour. ...
  5. Teach your dog to swap things. ...
  6. When your dog takes something that's valuable or that could harm them.

Why does my dog claw at everything? ›

Dogs scratch, lick, or chew for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from allergies to boredom to parasite infestation: Allergies. When dog scratching gets out of hand, it is often the result of allergies to food or environmental triggers, including mold and pollen.

Do dogs grow out of stealing things? ›

If they are under three years old: It's very typical dogs from 6-18 months to steal and chew items around the house. They are still learning and are very curious about the world. And with doggy exploration comes the dog mouth. Most dogs grow out of this phase as they get older.

Why does my dog always pick up a something? ›

Sometimes dogs grab an item because they're bored, lonely, or have a whole lot of energy they don't know what to do with, says certified dog behaviorist and trainer Jolanta Benal. In that case, make sure they get plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and attention.

Why does my dog always pick things up? ›

The most common reason why do dogs steal things is lack of attention or entertainment. Dogs will very quickly learn that if they pick up a certain item, the human will play a ruddy good game of chase with them. Make sure that your dog has had enough physical exercise AND mental exercise so they can relax properly.

Why does a dog put his paw on you? ›

Why is my dog putting his paws on me? In addition to a way to say "I love you," your dog might paw at you if it needs something like food or a potty break. Anxious dogs might also paw at you for comfort or to request some space. Other dogs may paw at you to signify they need some activity time.

What to do after dog scratch? ›

Treatment for Dog and Cat Bites and Scratches
  1. If the bite or scratch is bleeding, apply pressure to it with a clean bandage, cloth, or towel to stop the bleeding. ...
  2. Wash the wound with soap and water under pressure from a faucet for at least 5 minutes. ...
  3. Dry the wound and cover it with a sterile dressing.


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