Some puppy owners encourage their puppy to sit beside them on the couch, while others find this behavior unacceptable. If you choose not to let your puppy on the couch, or other furniture, it's best to train him to stay off the furniture while he is still a puppy, before he gets too used to getting comfortable on the couch. The following article will provide you with tips on training your puppy so he understands the "off" command.
Why does he want to sit on the furniture anyway?
Your puppy may not be misbehaving when he jumps up on the couch; he may not know that you don't want him on the furniture. It's natural that a puppy who doesn't know the rules will make up his own. If you've invited him to snuggle up on the couch with you even once, then he may take that to mean he's welcome on the furniture all the time. Let your puppy know what is allowed, in a clear and gentle manner.
Your puppy may like to be on the furniture for many reasons. First, he may want to be as close to you as possible. And if you're sitting on the couch, then the closest spot is up there beside you. If you're not on the couch he may want to be there anyway, because he's lonely and the couch smells like you. It may also give him a view of the room that he doesn't get from the floor. If the couch is located near a window it may be even more appealing, as it may give your puppy a look outside.
First, decide right from the beginning if you will allow your puppy to sit on the furniture. And stick to your decision at all times. Consistency is key. Everyone in the family needs to know the rules, and help your puppy to remember them. If you allow your puppy to cuddle up beside you on the couch at some times, and not others, he won't be clear about what the rules are. Remember, too, that puppies grow. If you decide as he gets bigger that you don't want him on the furniture anymore it may be a hard habit to break. You should also take into consideration that he will lie on the furniture when he's dirty if you let him lie there when he's clean. Also, some puppies become more aggressive when they are allowed on the furniture—they may confuse their role in the dog hierarchy because they are on the same level as you, the pack leader.
The "off" command
The "off" command tells your puppy that you want his paws on the floor, not on the furniture. Some people use the command "down" for this, while others differentiate between the commands "down" and "off", using "off" for when their puppy jumps up on furniture, or people, and "down" for when they want their puppy to lie down on the floor. Whichever you choose, be consistent.
To get your puppy off a piece of furniture take him gently but firmly by his collar and say "off" while helping him down from the furniture. Release your puppy's collar once he is on the floor and give him praise and a treat. Do this consistently to encourage the behavior you want, and eventually you will not have to physically lead your puppy down from the furniture—giving the command in a firm voice will be enough. You may want to provide your puppy with his own bed so he can get comfortable on the floor and will be less likely to climb up on the furniture. The bed should be kept in a central area of the house, where your puppy is not lonely and can interact with the family.