Teaching Your Dog To Get "Off"
The Furniture

Teaching a dog to get "off" a chair or bed can be important, especially to folks who don't want the dog up there to begin with.

There is often confusion between “Off” and “Down.” “Down” means “flat on your stomach.” “Off” means get off the bed, get off the couch. These two commands need to be kept apart and for different purposes. It is a great temptation to say “off” when a dog jumps up on your chest or leg.

Teaching “off” when it comes to furniture is not always as easy as it would seem.

The first thing you have to do is decide whether your dog is to be allowed on the couch, bed, chair, or not. Then, that decision must be made permanent and everyone in the house and entire neighborhood needs to stick to it 100%. If the house rule is never on the couch, then the dog is never to go on the couch, PERIOD.

  • If little Johnny comes over from down the street and invites the dog onto the couch, all is lost.

  • Okay, so now we have the dog on the couch. He needs to get off. How?

  • Give him a good alternative. Put his soft, comfy bed near the couch and in a strong, no-nonsense tone, tell him, “OFF” and point to his bed. Clap your hands loudly. Make noise to startle the dog.

  • If the dog does follow your pointing arm and get off, give him a ton of praise and a hug. Always praise the dog for doing the right thing. If he is CLICKER savvy, click him.

  • In the likely event the dog sits and sneers at you when you point and say “OFF,” try some physical force. Go behind him and tilt the cushion up a bit until he starts to slide forward. This is his clue. If he persists, tilt the cushion higher so he slips onto the floor.

  • Or, call him outside with a ball to play fetch or get his leash for a walk. When he looks like he’s ready to leave the couch, tell him “OFF” and lead him away with the diversion. There really is no "polite" way of teaching the dog to get off a bed or couch.

The dog needs to find something better than the couch or chair when he hears “OFF!” In time, he should get the idea he is not to be on the furniture.

The best plan is to never let him on the couch in the first place. But, dogs are inquisitive, so he does need to know that “OFF” means “get going, you don’t belong here.”

I don't know if hand pointing, loud clapping and saying GET OFF! in a stern voice is considered "teaching" or not, but it does work.

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