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.
As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.
When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.
Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food
If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.
As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.
However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.
Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.
It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.
Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.
While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!
Whether you choose dry food, soft food or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.