The Real Reason You Should Keep Dogs Off Your Couch

Few things are better than coming home after a long day and curling up on the couch with your cuddly dog. Whether it's through slobbery kisses or muzzle nuzzles, our pets always seem to know exactly how to make us feel loved. We reciprocate as much as we can, and in doing so, many of us bend the rules for our pets and let them get away with things that we know we probably shouldn't. A prime example of this is allowing your dog to hop up on the couch (or any household furniture, for that matter).

Dogs — though adorable — are fluffy, filthy little germ machines. You may want to reconsider their couch privileges because they can bring fleas, dirt, fecal matter, and even parasites into the house with them and then track it onto the furniture. Add the nonstop shedding and scratching from their claws, and you're looking at a lot of wear and tear on your couch. The real reason you should keep your dogs off the couch, though, isn't tied to aesthetics or cleanliness.

Why it's not a good idea

For dogs, claiming the couch as their own can actually lead to behavioral issues. Does your dog ever snap or growl when you try to move it off the couch? According to Pedigree, "dogs are pack animals, which means they think of their human family members as pack mates. When you allow your dog on your sofa or bed, instinct tells them they are equal or above their humans in the pack hierarchy. For some dogs, this can lead to territorial behavior." Hence the snapping or growling when you try to make your four-legged friend move.

Even if your dog doesn't act aggressive or territorial when it comes to the couch, it can lead to more issues down the road. If you're having friends over for a movie night, chances are good your dog will expect its usual seat on the couch and won't hesitate to invade your guests' personal space. Another scenario? Let's say your parents are going to keep your pup at their house while you're on vacation. Fido may be in for a surprise when he's not allowed on their furniture.

How you can fix it

If you've been allowing your pets on the furniture but have decided that enough is enough, it's not too late to begin correcting their behavior. As with most animal training, it's crucial that you remain firm and consistent throughout the process. The Spruce Pets suggests purchasing a cozy dog bed and placing it close to the couch. Then, teach commands like "off" and "go to your bed" so the dog knows exactly where it should (and shouldn't) be. Reward it with treats and praise when it gets it right. As a bonus, you can toss the dog bed in the washing machine much more easily than couch cushions.

If the training isn't working, there are countless products available to help. A quick search on Amazon for "pet furniture deterrent" brings up a slew of creative options. You'll find things like a sonic repelling mat, a pungent spray, and a noisy cover that resembles a giant piece of aluminum foil. No matter your dog's personality, there's a product geared toward helping you end the couch power struggle once and for all.