I have certain rules in my house that we hold hard and fast to when it comes to the dogs. The biggest one is that no dog is allowed up onto the couch or bed unless invited by a human. This is a required level of respect as well as a practicality. I don’t want dog fur or feet or slobber on my couch or accent pillows. And if I have guests over, I don’t want a 50 pound canine to suddenly bound into their lap. My dogs know that they don’t come up onto the couch unless the human pats the couch and says “come up”. Here are a few tidbits to help make this happen in your home.

~Only cuddle with a calm dog. When you pet a dog, you are neutering her behavior at that moment, so make sure she’s in a calm mind-set that you want to encourage before you invite her up.

~If your dog jumps up on the couch without your invitation, claim the couch. Do NOT lift her off or she will not understand that you are setting a boundary (picking up your dog equals positive reinforcement, so in this situation you would actually be rewarding your dog for being on the couch). Make your dog get off the couch herself. Point and say “off”, (if that doesn’t work, step it up a notch) stand on the couch and move into her personal space until she moves, shake a can of coins, spray her with water. Do the least that you can so that she gets the message easily. Then repeat, repeat, repeat.  I think it’s worth the effort to ensure that your guests feel safe and you feel respected as the leader of your pack.

Lead your dog!