It’s a question you might ask yourself during an embarrassing moment with your houseguests who didn’t expect to have your dog in their lap. Perhaps it’s a question you ask yourself every time you spend what feels like hours vacuuming dog hair off the seat cushions. Or maybe you’re a bit tired of your dog’s sofa-ruining zoomies every time they get a delivery of Waggly Club.
No matter what prompted the question, we’ve got the answers. In this article, we’ll talk about whether lounge boundaries are appropriate for your pup and how you can go about reclaiming your spot on the sofa.
Should I let my dog on the lounge? The pros
We’re not here to say that all puppers should be banned from the lounge. On the contrary, there are some real benefits to allowing your pup to cuddle up.
For one thing, it’s been long established that positive encounters with our pups, such as cuddling or lounging side-by-side, release oxytocin in the brain, not only for us but for our furry friends as well! So, if you spend every evening after a long day kicking back with your Koolie, or you allow your fearful Frenchie on the sofa during a thunderstorm, don’t worry. You’re actually practicing self care.
Couch lounging might also be a great option for a restful afternoon nap. Not only is napping itself a huge health benefit, but sleeping with your dog can increase relaxation for a more blissful snooze.
Finally, if your dog is coziest when curled up on the lounge, you might use the opportunity to check a few grooming tasks off your to-do list. A lounge-sleeping doggo might be more open to having their fur combed or teeth brushed. Cuddled up together, you can take a quick look at their ears and paw pads to make sure they’re in tip-top shape. You can, of course, fulfill these grooming duties anywhere, but having your pup relaxed and at eye-level can make things easier!
Should I let my dog on the lounge? The cons
While there are some benefits to having your dog on the lounge—the most obvious being, it’s nice—there are a few circumstances when it may not be totally appropriate.
For dogs suffering from territorial aggression, for instance, a highly prized part of the house like a lounge could be a trigger. You certainly don’t want your dog to be snapping at you or houseguests, and it can be even more dangerous when your pup is on a raised piece of furniture.
If your dog is grouchy about sharing the couch, either snarling, growling or snapping when you sit down or shift positions, it will absolutely be necessary to rethink their access to the lounge.
Another reason to keep Fido on the floor would be if you have a cat who has already claimed that space. Ideally, you’ll want to give a cat even more vantage points than just the top of a couch, but it can be a place for them to feel safe away from an energetic doggo.
Cleanliness is one of the most common reasons why a Dog Owner might not want their dog on the sofa. Not only do some dogs leave a trail of dog fur everywhere they go, but they may also track mud, dirt, water, and all sorts of other things onto the lounge. For some Owners, this is a nuisance; others may also be worried about the germs that their pup spreads all over the area where the family relaxes.
How to renegotiate the rules about living room furniture
If the list of cons for sharing a sofa with your dog convinced you that it’s time to make a change, you can rewrite the rules for lounging time with your pup.
Here are a few suggestions that can help you teach your dog to stay off the lounge:
- Provide them with an appealing alternative. It’s understandable that our puppers would want to be on a comfortable couch alongside their favourite humans. So, you’ll want to provide them with an even better option. Invest in a dog bed that can be placed close to the lounge so that your dog can still feel comfortable and connected.
- Work on “go to your bed.” You want your dog to get in the habit of going to their bed every time there are people in the living room so give them a reward, such as a treat or chew toy, to encourage them to curl up in their bed. It may take quite a while for them to naturally want to relax in their bed, but stick with it. Positive associations can take time to build.
- Make the lounge inaccessible. Prevention is a much better strategy than punishment, so set your dog up for success. When you are at home, you might consider having your dog on a leash so that you can keep them from jumping on the couch in the first place. When you’re not home, you might cover the lounge with laundry baskets, plastic mats, anything that is uncomfortable but not dangerous if your dog knocks it down. For a particularly clever pup, you might consider crate training or leaving your pup in a dog-safe room to keep them contained while you’re gone.
- When your dog does get on the couch, quickly redirect them. No matter how good your prevention efforts, your doggo will probably end up on the couch at some point (or many points) during the transition. Instead of picking your dog up, pushing them off, or getting angry, calmly lure them off of the lounge and onto their bed. Once they’ve relaxed for a few moments in their bed, reward them. This will ensure that they’re not associating getting on the couch with a tasty treat.
- Avoid confusion. Now, it is perfectly acceptable for your dog to be on the lounge with you sometimes. Doggos are smart enough to learn that the couch is okay when they’ve been invited. But, you want to be very clear with them that they’re only allowed on the furniture with your permission. So, let’s say you’re thinking about allowing Fido onto the lounge and, the mind reader that he is, he hops up before you give him the okay. Unfortunately, you’ll have to redirect him to his bed and then wait a few moments before inviting him onto the couch. That way, he’ll learn that he can hop up only when you call him. With consistency, he’ll learn when it is and is not appropriate to be on the sofa.
- For territorial aggression, consider the help of a pro. Dogs who are showing possessiveness around the lounge can be particularly tough to train. With a professional dog trainer or behaviourist, you don’t have to tackle the problem alone!
Should I let my dog on the lounge? Ultimately, the answer is up to you!
In this article, we’ve laid out some of the pros and cons to letting your dog on the furniture. No matter if you choose a dog-free lounge, all-the-time couch privileges, or a balance between the two, you can have more control over your living room.
How will you answer, “Should I let my dog on the couch?” for yourself?