Should I Allow My Dog On The Furniture?
This is one of those questions which can cause conflict between dog owners, household members and even dogs themselves. First and foremost, at Holidays4Dogs, we believe it’s entirely down to personal choice. However, this does depend on other factors. Read on, to find out more about the subject of dogs having access to furniture.
As we have pointed out, it is down to personal choice as to whether you want to allow your dog on the furniture. If you choose to let your dog get onto chairs, or beds, this won’t necessarily make your dog ‘dominant’. Many people believe that allowing a dog to climb onto furniture will make him dominant. This simply isn’t the case.
Dominance theory de-bunked.
Experts have largely debunked canine dominance theory. If the dog is aggressive around furniture, this is usually because the owner has inadvertently rewarded the dog for undesirable behaviour; not because he is exercising dominance over you. This is a widely misunderstood theory, even among some dog trainers. Dogs are perfectly aware that humans are not dogs, but they do understand us, far more than we once thought.
Agreement and fairness.
It also depends on certain levels of access your dog has that, incidentally, the whole family must agree upon. If some members of the household allow the dog on the furniture, while others disagree, this can cause confusion in the dog’s mind. If your dog has free access to furnishings at home, consider how this may work when your dog visits other households. Grandma may not appreciate Fido jumping all over her best couch, for example.
Access by invitation is a good compromise. While you can teach your dog the rules of this, it is a bit more of a grey area and open to confusing cues for the dog. Very often, this can end up with the dog having free access anyway.
Some people have a special chair, or other piece of furniture, where the dog is allowed and this is easier to teach as it’s clearer for the dog to understand.
For both scenarios, it’s helpful to teach your dog to get on and off the furniture with a cue. Any pulling, or pushing your dog off the sofa, may end up in conflict, since this may cause your dog to feel anxious and nervous and therefore, react aggressively. This is not dominance, but a natural reaction to what the dog sees as a threat.
Teach your dog what the rules are.
First, encourage your dog to get up on the sofa. This is the easy part, as most dogs are happy to jump on a comfy seat and this in itself is a reward. Next teach your dog to get off the sofa by luring with a treat, or toy, and rewarding him when his feet are firmly on the ground.
Some people don’t like the dog on the furniture at all. This too, is a perfectly acceptable arrangement to both humans and dogs. After all, furniture can be very expensive and dogs can rather hairy and smelly.
I personally have always allowed my dogs on the furniture – but by invitation only. This has always worked very well. I also cover fabrics with throws to minimise dog hair and grime. However, as we have mentioned, it can be a grey area for dogs. Dogs are ever the opportunists and may sneak on the sofa when you’re not looking!
At Holidays4Dogs we have plenty of carers who are more than happy to have their guest dogs on the chairs, sofas, and even beds in some cases! However, if you prefer your dogs to stay off the furniture, our carers will respect this too. Client dogs will always be matched to the perfect carer and any special requests can invariably be accommodated.