Training Series: The LAY LO Way to Keep Your Dog Off the Couch

how to keep dogs off the couch

As I’m writing this post, I know for a fact that my gracious German Shepherd is sleeping on our couch. Why? I have scratch-resistant leather couches, and she’s allowed on them whenever she wants. If you’re one of those people who adopted your adorable pooch after you invested in your couch, you may not have thought twice about this future reality.  

Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, deciding on ground rules for couch time is a huge part of training your dog. Luckily, this is a reasonably easy training process that can take about 2 to 4 days, depending on how serious you are. 

Below, we’ll walk you through the most common ways to train your dog to stay off the couch – for good this time. 


Keep 'Em Out/In Decorative Divider from CB2.

1. The Block Method

This is one of the easiest methods because it prohibits your dog from even coming close to the couch. When you’re home, this method literally asks for taking up space on the sofa. If there’s no space for your pup to jump to, they won’t feel the need to get on the couch. 

Using baby gates, large objects, or anything else you can think of for blocking the couch space can also help. Some décor options won’t disrupt your home’s style. For example, consider getting a stylish baby gate or using a pile of pillows that you can stack. Another great option is to move some ottomans to the hallway you’re trying to block. 

woman training dog off couch

2. Try the Off Method

While the block method is practical and particularly helpful with older dogs that already have bad habits, it’s not a full training method. Instead, focus on teaching your dog the right commands. Different commands to keep your dog off the couch include the “off” and “up” commands. 

Sit around your living room and watch your dog. The moment they hop on the furniture, go over there with a treat or their favorite toy in hand. Use the word “off” to indicate that you want them to get off the couch. Use the treat to lure them down to the floor and off the furniture. Keep repeating this reward until your dog responds to the off command. 

A LAY LO Bed Cover on the Couch

Other people also teach their dogs the “up” command, especially if they’ll like their dogs to join them on the couch from time to time. You can place a cute blanket or even one of our removable LAY LO bed cover to enjoy some cuddle time while protecting your couch. So, instead of making furniture off-limits to them, you teach them to only go on furniture when invited. 

To teach the “up” command, you might need help from a leash. Once on the leash, excitedly say “up!” and pat an area where you want your dog to jump. Wiggle a toy or a treat to lure them to the spot. If they don’t jump, gently pull the leash upward to help them. When they make it to the spot, reward them with praise or a reward. 

Use this opportunity also to teach them the “off” command and keep practicing until your dog realizes that to get on the couch, they need your permission. 

modern dog bed in the living room


3. The Spot or Place Method

Another excellent way to keep them off the couch is to offer them an alternative. For example, you can place your LAY LO dog bed in the same room where your couch is. The “place” or “bed” command can help keep them off the couch. And, because our modern dog beds become accessories within your home décor, you won’t have an issue keeping them close to your couch. 

When your dog tries to get close to the couch, say “place” and lure them toward their bed. You may use small treats on the way to the bed to help them feel rewarded. If your dog is a bit more stubborn, use the leash to push them gently and direct them to the bed. 

As your dog starts to recognize the place command, stop the treats. Now, to train them to stay off the couch entirely, you have to rethink the treats. When you walk into the area where your couch is situated, watch your dog and reward them for going straight to the bed versus the sofa. This positive reinforcement will help your dog recognize the sofa as an off-limits zone.

training dog

What About When I’m Not Home?

Even though your dog has mastered staying off the couch when you’re there, the moment you step outside, they almost run toward the couch with excitement. How many times have you seen your dog jumping on the sofa when you’re not home through your security cameras? More than once, we imagine. 

The easiest way to prevent your dog from going on the couch when you’re gone is by blocking the access. You can either place a baby gate in the hallway that leads to the sofa or learn how to crate train your dog for when you leave. 

Crate training is one way to prevent destructive behavior and also keep your dog off the furniture. While tricky, it can be beneficial for you and your pup to learn crate training. You can use your LAY LO dog bed to help in the crate training process.

If crating is not an option for you, consider using deterrents to see your dog’s reaction and the deterrent’s effectiveness. 

Remember, whenever you set rules with your dog, it’s essential to remain consistent and steady. Sending mixed signals to your dog will only make them even more confused, and you’ll feel stuck. Ensure everyone in your house is on the same page on how to train your dog to stay off the couch so that everyone can practice the training. And most importantly, reinforce it.