A Matter of Preference: Do You Allow Your Pet on the Couch?

Having a pet on the couch can be nice. As with most things in life, once a decision is made you have to do your best to stand by it. There’s just no room to be wishy-washy. In the case of pondering the good ‘ole pets on furniture conundrum, it’s absolutely required to either allow it – or not. To avoid confusion and potential behavioral problems, there must not be a grey area. Now that that’s out of the way, is it bad if you allow your pet on the couch?

It’s Just Nice

Snuggling with your pet on the couch is one of the best moments in life. Both of you get the maximum chill time out of the opportunity, and your pet likely relishes in the closeness. Plus, they get the added benefit of hanging out in your favorite spot when you aren’t at home which, conveniently, smells like you. It’s also way more comfortable than their bed on the floor.

There’s Always a “But”

Dogs are pack animals, and if you do allow them up on your “level”, be prepared to see the gears working in your pet’s head. They’re thinking that you are equals when allowed on your furniture. In other words, your territory becomes their territory, and you may eventually encounter some (ahem) feedback when asking your pet to get down.

Reinforcement

While not common, behavioral concerns can occur in animals that are allowed to blur the lines between our species. If your dog snaps or growls at you when you simply try to sit down on the couch, they should not be allowed to remain on the furniture. Some pets also take over a space and really spread out. This, too, is something you do not want to accidentally reinforce by allowing them to do so.

The most important thing to remember is that, when laying down a household rule, consistency is the key.

To Live By

If you do allow your pet on the couch, please know that they will continue to make themselves comfortable when you have guests over, and if you ever visit someone else’s home together.

If you have kids, or plan on children in the future, take special care in training your pet to remain off the couch until you’re convinced it’s not going to be a problem between them. Your pet might end up relinquishing any interest in couch surfing.

Pet On the Couch?

Some owners allow their pets unfettered access to their furniture, but then they change their minds and want them to remain on the floor (or cat tree or dog bed) after some time. This decision could be the result of messy or dirty cushions or the perception of spreading germs off the floor and onto your bed.

Basic obedience is helpful in this endeavor. Once they have a handle on sit, stay, and down, you can begin redirecting them to another spot. Stay patient, consistent, and repeat. Take some time to fully understand what makes your pet feel safe, secure, and comfortable. Always provide them with another cozy spot instead of your furniture if you decide to thwart their efforts.

Inconsistent Consistency

Training your pet where they can and cannot lounge is critical to domestic balance. You may decide that they cannot sleep with you in bed, but they can take up half the couch (or vice versa). However you decide to rule your roost, be sure to reward your pet for good behavior.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

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