There is no right or wrong answer, to the question of whether or not you should let your dog up on your furniture. It's your home and furniture after all and I think you should do what you want! Plus if you have not had a dog snuggle with you on the couch when you're feeling sick, then you are missing out on one of life's greatest comforts.
But, and yes there is always a but, jumping up on furniture uninvited shows a lack of manners. Not only that, if you don't teach your dog how to politely ask to be let up on your furniture you may find your favourite chair (or your spot in bed) may be claimed and overtaken by your dog!
Ok so there are a few rules for letting your dog up on your furniture if you want to keep them from taking over and to also show polite manners around the home.
1. Only when invited.
Getting on the furniture should be by invite only. It is up to you or any member of your family if your dog can join you on the couch. It may not always be OK. You could have guests, maybe you want to lie down or simply enjoy your couch with your two legged loved ones instead. Without the invitation, your dog should not get up on the furniture and should find somewhere else to hang out.
2. Sit first.
A sit is a polite way for your dog to ask if they can get up on the furniture with you. But you don't have to choose a sit if you don't want to, you might be OK with your dog standing and waiting or maybe they need to give you a high five first. It's totally up to you. By teaching your dog to offer you a behaviour first, you are giving your dog a way to ask your permission to join you on the furniture. Not only is that showing manners around the home, but it reinforces for your dog who is in control of the couch.
3. Put a command to it.
Teach your dog a command to get ON and OFF the furniture and use these when you invite them up and when it's time to get off. Using commands is how you can communicate with your dog the actions you want them to take and if you don't use a command how will they know when they can join you and when it's time to get off?
This is pretty much the key to all dog training but is especially important here. Everyone in the household needs to be on the same page and be consistent with the application of the rules. It's also not fair to your dog if they get mixed messages and they won't understand what it is they need to do to get on the couch with you.
5. It's not too late.
Don't worry if your dog doesn't follow these rules now, with some time and practice they can learn. They shouldn't be in trouble for getting up on the furniture without asking because to them they haven't done anything wrong as they are still operating under the old rules. Instead, think of it as teaching them a new skill and expect some mistakes along the way. If your dog gets on the couch uninvited, gently ask them to get off and show them what they need to do to get back up.
As a dog owner, dog trainer and pet sitter I have learnt many different tips and tricks over the years and I thought this would be a great way to share them with you. Enjoy!