When we get a new puppy, adopt an older dog, or for whatever other reason invite a dog into our home, one of the first questions we tend to ask ourselves is whether to allow the dog full access to our furniture.
You might have grown up in a household where there were no such rules, or perhaps your parents only allowed the pet to stay outside. Regardless of this, you might want to find out what is best for you, your household, and your beloved pet.
There is no right or wrong way to handle this. As long as you provide love and affection for your dog, set clear rules and boundaries, and remember to include the dog in regular activities, most approaches work well. After that, it’s just a matter of preference and taste.
In this article, we will go over the advantages as well as disadvantages of allowing dogs and puppies on furniture, and we will consider ways to teach our pets the best approach to handling all this.
How Do Dogs Think and Feel About This?
If you think about how your dog might consider the question about furniture, it can open your eyes to a new point of view you hadn’t previously considered. Dogs love their human companions and oftentimes wish to be as close as possible to their owners. They have a deeply rooted tendency, and dogs are pack animals, so their natural instincts drive this thought process.
It goes against their nature to be separated from their pack, and because of this, most dogs love relaxing next to their owners. The same goes for watching TV in the evening or eating dinner: the animal wishes to be a part of most of your activities, possibly even sleeping next to you at night.
Dog training is an activity, so the good news is that if you spend a bit of time teaching your pet where to sit on the furniture and what pieces to avoid, you will not only get cleaner furniture without as much dog hair on it but also strengthen your bond with your pet.
Should Dogs Be Allowed on Furniture or Not?
Depending on how many dogs you own, how large your furniture and home is, and how small or large the dogs are, you might come to a conclusion based on practicality. For example, it might not be possible for your 100 pound Great Dane to sleep in the bed with you and your partner. Or the small terrier might easily find a comfortable place in the couch in between two of its favorite people.
And let’s be honest, having a dog close by for easy petting and increased feeling of warmth and safety is something us humans tend to love as well. In addition, dogs generally tend to sleep calmly for the most part, so the dog owners can often get a good night’s sleep, even if the dog jumps a few times at night.
Depending on your dog’s behavior, you might want to reward good behavior with letting your dog on the couch or other furniture. However, it can be equally important to set off-limits boundaries in the house. No matter how friendly you are with your dog, you should always understand a firm no, just as when you teach your dog to sit or jump, regardless of we are talking about the bed, couch, or sofa.
Reasons Why You Should Let Your Dog on Your Furniture
So when should we let our dogs on the furniture? And what are some good reasons for allowing such a behavior? Of course, this will vary from household to household, but here are some common reasons why people tend to allow their animal companions free roam of the place they live in.
1. Comfortable and Free Atmosphere
One of the main advantages of letting your dog on the furniture is one of comfort and coziness. It provides warmth and safety to both your furry friends and yourself by having the dogs nearby on the couch. You can pet the dog whenever you like, which tends to happen more the closer it is to you, and the dog, in turn, can feel like a real part of your activities.
2. Safe and Happy Living
Often you won’t even notice it, but your hand has reached out to cuddle or snuggle the dog, relieving stress levels in both yourself and the dog. This is because touch like this type produces oxytocin which makes you happy and relaxed. The same goes for your dog as well, it will also experience a pleasing touch, and it will feel part of the pack.
3. In Touch With Changes
At the same time, whether the dog is on the couch watching TV with us or relaxing in the bed, it becomes easier for us to notice any changes in our dogs’ behavior. Perhaps we might feel a different temperature on the dog’s belly than what we are used to, notice a weird lump, or perhaps notice that the dog recoils when we touch it in a particular place.
Reasons Not to Let Your Dog on Furniture
The main disadvantage of letting our dogs on furniture such as beds, couches, and so on, is one of the hygienic nature. It is no secret that most dogs shed a lot of hair, and sometimes the dog drools or otherwise leaves an undesirable mess in other ways.
1. Dog Hair in the House and on the Furniture
Whether you can live with that is up to you and your family, and potentially also any visitors you tend to have over. One way to help with this issue is by looking for couch covers to drape over the furniture on normal days that you can then remove when you expect visitors.
2. Some Dogs Sleep at Different Times Than You
Another possible negative effect could be the lack of privacy. For example, if your dog is used to sleeping in the bed or lay on the couch with you and your partner, you might find it difficult to send it away when you wish to have some time alone.
3. Following Rules Outside the House
If you travel with your dog to hotels or friends and family, it might also be difficult for the dog to adjust if the new place you are staying does not allow your dogs on the furniture.
Keeping Your Furniture and Carpets in Good Condition
Therefore, it might be a good idea to prepare your dog with a second sleeping area, such as a comfy dog bed, that you can train the dog to use every once in a while, even when you are at home. This can make the transition much easier, and the dog won’t be barking at 3 AM because it is unsure or scared.
It goes without saying that letting your dog roam freely on the furniture in your home will make for more cleaning. From the bedsheets to the carpets and couch materials, everything will be less clean, and the wear and tear will happen slightly faster due to the extra activity of the dogs, compared to just us humans using the furniture.
This is a particular problem area for many people across the world. For example, when your animal loves spending time with you on the sofa, you might consider restricting access or tell your dog not to be jumping on the couch all the time.
It should be fine if you have invited the dog to sit on the couch, but just like with crate training a puppy, your command should be the final word. All in all, keeping dogs next to us on the furniture means we can become more in tune with the dog, and it’s health.
Why Rules and Boundaries Are Good for Dogs and Pets in General
One way to get the best of both worlds is by using dog beds, baskets, and blankets. For example, if your dog loves enjoying TV sessions with your family, consider providing the dog with it’s own blanket for the couch. Then, when you have visitors over, you can just remove the blanket, or place it on the floor next to the couch, so the dog knows where to be, and your guests won’t be covered in old fur.
This can also make the doggie more relaxed when visitors are over since it sometimes can be upsetting for our furry friends to lose their favorite spot to Granny, even though they love her as well. By using blankets, baskets, and dog beds, you can move the dog’s spot around without confusing it.
Another positive from this idea is that you will also keep the majority of hair and fur on the blankets or baskets instead of on the furniture or carpets, thus leaving you to clean less. And don’t worry about teaching your dog this, it will take a very short time for the pet to understand this concept, and it will make your life much easier.
Example of When to Let the Dog on the Couch
Let’s say your golden retriever loves to play outside and brings back the entire world in terms of dirt, leaves, and bacteria from a daily trip. In that case, you might need to be able to command your companion not to jump on the sofa or walk with paws on the carpet.
By having certain rules in place, you can make sure your furry friend won’t get the wrong message. After all, we don’t know what our dog thinks of any given situation, but it should respect our decision. For example, behavior modification can reward you, the owner, when you decide when to cuddle or snuggle or when the animal should be calm and consistent in the behavior.
What to Do When Having Difficulty Dog Training?
When it comes to the bedroom, there are a few other considerations to make. First, everyone needs to get a good night’s quality sleep without interruptions. Depending on your dog’s behavior as well as your household rules, it might be a good idea to try positive reinforcement techniques if you find the pooch is controlling resources personal space or have other behavior problems.
If you are single, there’s a higher chance of you choosing to let your dog sleep in bed with you, and it can provide safety and comfort for both of you. Once you find a partner to share your bed with, however, the animal might have difficulty yielding its favorite position for this new person. And even though your partner might not mind having a dog on the couch, the fact is that it should not be the animal that dictates the rules of the house.
Closing Thoughts About Having a Dog on the Furniture
In this case, you need to be patient and understanding, making sure the dog is allowed time to process this new arrangement. Never be angry at the dog for not getting things right; instead, provide a blanket, dog bed, or basket and encourage the animal to use it by rewarding good behavior and ignoring bad behavior.
The most difficult thing for dogs to understand is when we send them mixed signals. If we are clear with rules of what to do and what not to do, the dogs will learn it all in no time. Just keep being consistent, and don’t give in just because it might be easier at the moment. Good things come to those who wait.