Why Do Pets Love to Get on the Furniture?
There are many reasons, including some you may not have thought about:
- Comfort – Furniture is comfortable. Our pets need a soft cozy sleeping place to get good rest, especially as they age and start to have joint pain, etc.
- Security – Another big reason is being up higher than floor level gives your pets a better view of their surroundings. Only allowing your pets on the floor greatly reduces their environment and limits your pet’s ability to observe what is going on in his/her world. For some pets, access to elevated surfaces can make the difference between a pet who feels safe and one who is nervous in his/her home.
- Bonding – Being up on furniture gives your dog a higher position, providing a better opportunity to interact with the human members of the family. We know that being as close as possible to eye level and making eye contact with your dog triggers the release of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for love and bonding.
- Snuggles – Our pets want to be with us and there is nothing better than hanging out with the two-legged family members on movie night.
I personally allow my dogs on the furniture, and they have free will to hang out anywhere they feel comfortable. But, if you choose to keep your pets off the furniture or have limited access to furniture, there are several tips to help you.
The Blanket Method
Get a special blanket your pet can lay on. You want to teach your pet that when the blanket is on the couch or chair, they can lay on the furniture on their blanket. To teach your pet the blanket is their special place to hang out, you want to turn this exercise into a fun game. After your pet learns this skill, the blanket will serve as the cue for your pet to go to their special place.
Here is the step-by-step method I use:
- Put the blanket on the furniture and invite your pet to lay or sit on it.
- Ask your pet to go to the blanket as you toss a yummy treat on the blanket.
- When your pet goes to the blanket, praise him in a happy voice. After all your pet just made a positive step in the learning process.
- If they move to another area of the furniture, calmly remind them you would like them to lay on their blanket instead. Remember to use a happy upbeat voice and keep it fun.
- Observe your pet and see if there is a certain area they prefer. Put their blanket in the preferred spot.
- Soon your pet will know they are welcome on the furniture when their blanket is there.
- Remember this is a new skill and learning new skills can be hard for your pet.
- Always be patient and upbeat when teaching this skill. It may take some practice but soon your pet will know they can lay on the furniture on their blanket.
- One last tip: If your pet is having a hard time with this, take a break and practice later. Keep sessions short and fun.
Beyond Pet Beds
Another option is to get (or assign) your pet his/her own piece of furniture. This choice can be a chair, ottoman or other piece of furniture, that will allow them a soft place to rest as well as a higher place to view their world.
Regardless of which choice you make about your pets and the furniture, always keep in mind their physical and emotional needs.
About the Author
If you need help with your puppy or dog, Judy Luther is available for virtual consultations. She can be reached through her website. Judy is also the Pet Professional Guild (PPG) Canine Committee Chair. Learn more about PPG and how pet parents can join for FREE!