How to Keep Pets Off of Furniture
Follow these tips to keep furry family members out of your favorite seat.
For many pet owners, it's a struggle to teach pets not to jump on furniture. Who doesn't love to snuggle with their furbabes on the couch? But sometimes pets can get territorial over pieces of furniture or even members of the family, not to mention leaving a trail of fur all over a clean couch or bed. After many years of owning pets, here are some tips that we've learned to keep pets off furniture, without losing out on the love.
Restrict from the Start
Don’t allow your pets on furniture from day one. It will be much harder (but not impossible) to break this habit once your pet has learned that it's acceptable to be on furniture. Curbing this behavior from the beginning will make your life much easier. It doesn’t matter if you brought home a puppy, kitten or older pet. Make it clear that furniture is off limits. If your pet hops on furniture, firmly tell them “off” and remove them immediately. Be sure to reward them with praise or a tasty treat once they've obeyed so they associate the praise/treat with being off the furniture. Quickly give them another command like “sit” or “lay” so they don't jump right back on. Your pets won’t necessarily understand this overnight, but after consistent training they will pick it up. For cats, the training may take a little more patience and creativity.
In our family, we are not opposed to letting our pets snuggle up on furniture with us. However, we do have some ground rules. Our pets are allowed on furniture when they are invited. We established this rule by inviting them up with us while we sit with them and reward them with praise once they get down with the “off” command. Believe it or not, your pet knows whether they can be on the sofa with you or not. Sitting on the couch with us is a reward and our pets are only invited when up when they are calm. If our dogs decided to join us uninvited or wrestle while on the furniture, they are immediately removed and not invited back up until they're calm. Pets are better family members when they are provided with a reward-based rule structure.
Give Them an Alternative
Your pets want to be with you, after all you are their family. Nonetheless, they also want to be on your furniture because it’s better than the hard floor. Giving your a pet a raised cot bed or cushion provides them with a comfortable place to hang out without causing you any inconvenience. In our home, we have what we like to call the “pet sofa”. It’s an older couch we held onto and our pets know they have free range to lounge all over that one. We also kennel trained our dogs from the moment they came into our homes. Our dogs love their kennels and will often hang out and sleep in them on their own. A window cat perch is also a good way to keep kitty off your furniture. Cats love being higher up and in a closed, secluded spot. The more comfy alternatives you give your pets, the less attractive your furniture will seem to them.
Needless to say, pets are wonderful companions and can bring happiness and fulfillment into your home. Help them and your family stay happy by learning how to break bad habits before they start.