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Old 04-29-2010, 01:20 PM
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Default need help for a friend, keeping dog off the couch

Ok a friend of ours has a mastiff. He's "young" ... just over a year old but he's obviously getting very large already.

He had been letting him up on the furniture but now they have decided that perhaps that's not a good place for him to hang out because he kind of destroys what ever he sleeps on lol.

So I know being consistent with telling the dog to get down and stay down is the biggest thing but are there any tips or tricks anyone has for him to help this process along?

Basically he has to break a "behaviour" that was once allowed and now is not.
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Old 04-29-2010, 01:39 PM
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Make sure to teach a command instead of dragging the dog off by his collar each time otherwise the dog could become defensive when you go to take his collar and may respond with a growl or snap.

Ideally the dog won't get onto the couch in the first place, they should not let him in the room with the furniture unless they are supervising (until he stops showing interest) They can use gates or put him in a room without off limits furniture when they are not home or are asleep. So if they see him approaching the couch they can get up and stand in front of him to block his access until he goes somewhere else to settle.

It's also nice if they can provide somewhere in the room that they dog CAN go to be comfortable like a nice dog bed or thick blanket. I know my neighbors kept a chair from their previous furniture set when they got new furniture and stuck it over in the corner for the dog, she can go on that but none of the other furniture. That way the dog has less motivation for going on the furniture, there are other comfortable options that require the dog to do less work to get access to.
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:18 PM
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Maxy makes good points. When they are not there, they need to make sure the behavior isn't being rewarded. Gate off the rooms he uses the furniture in. If this is not possible, they need to crate him when they are not home.

They need to teach him "on" and "off". These commands/cues/tricks are necessary for the furniture sleeping, but are useful at other times as well. Point to the couch, tell him on. If he doesn't get right on, use whatever "cue" they've used before when they say on (pat the cushion, for instance). Praise and treat. Leave the room, get dog to follow. Turn around, go back into room and repeat "on". The dog should understand and respond to "on".

The next step is to teach off. Point to the floor in front of Rover's spot and say "Rover, off". His eyes should follow the finger, drop treat on floor. If he's big enough to get the treat without getting off the couch, fine, but each time you repeat the cue, drop the treat a little farther away so he has to get off the couch in order to get it. Praise each time. On. Off. On. Off. Repeat over and over. For treats, use his kibble, bits of meat, cheese, etc. Make it interesting. Once he has pretty well mastered on/off, use going outside as the treat instead of food sometimes, or a chew toy, or a game.

As Maxy suggested, give him a cushy mat to lie on. I like mats because they are portable. Once he has mastered the on/off, praise when he gets off, but go to the mat and point to it, drop treat. Use, "go to bed", or "Rover, mat", or "Rover, blankie", or what have you.

Ordinarily, you would phase out the "on" cue and just use off. But, a better idea is to use "on" for getting in the car, etc. Again, repeat it over and over, having him get into a back seat as well as through the tail of an SUV, pick up, and station wagon. Take a couple of trips to the vet's office to practice good manners in the waiting room. While in the examining room, have him lie down and roll to his side. Allow someone to examine him, then have him roll over to his other side for exam. Your vet will love you for this.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxy24 View Post
Make sure to teach a command instead of dragging the dog off by his collar each time otherwise the dog could become defensive when you go to take his collar and may respond with a growl or snap.
One thing we do when we have a puppy that we are furniture training (like Maura is describing with "on/off" commands) is we have them drag their leash through the house. Obviously, you don't let them wear it when they aren't supervised. That way if they don't immediately hop off, you just give the leash a few quick little tugs to give them the idea and then reward them when they get down.

It helps because that way there is no collar grabbing, and rewarding them for being responsive to a little tug is helpful in general with leash training. Everyone in our crew responded really well to it. We can leave them loose in the house while we're gone, come back, and nobody was on the furniture (with dark fabric prints and white borzois it's pretty obvious)
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:18 AM
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we used those plastic mats you get at office supply stores to put on carpet

they have little bumps on the bottom (meant to stick into the carpet)

we flipped them upside down and put them on the sofa (bumpy parts up), it kept the dogs off furniture when we weren't around

and when we were, they got a loud "NO!" and shaking a bottle full of pennies til they hopped off. now they don't even try it lol
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Old 05-11-2010, 05:44 PM
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Once a dog has had couch time it's hard to break . I'd put dining chairs on couch when not used by humans .
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Old 05-17-2010, 06:25 PM
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We can leave them loose in the house while we're gone, come back, and nobody was on the furniture (with dark fabric prints and white borzois it's pretty obvious)
Wow, I really thought that was like the cats on counters thing -- better just give up now! (...on them complying when you aren't home)
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:21 PM
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Wow, I really thought that was like the cats on counters thing -- better just give up now! (...on them complying when you aren't home)
lol!

I think the key is providing a comparable place that is "theirs". They have memory foam beds.

And we do invite them up with us sometimes since they have a cue for "get up here with me". That's the main lure of the couch now, they get to snuggle. If we're not home they can't snuggle with us, so why get on the couch?
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