You may love your pooch, but you may not love what he does to your furniture. It’s totally okay to feel this way and, as you may have guessed, totally normal. Some people let their dogs go where ever they want and others don’t.
It’s all up to you and what ever you decide is ok – it’s your home and you are the one making the rules, when you are on the furniture, he likes to get up because that’s where you are, and he wants to be close.
Those myths that dogs want to be on the furniture to claim higher pack position are just aren’t true. They seek for a comfortable spot and to be near you. If you’re looking at trying to keep your terrier off of the couch and armchair, there are a variety of ways to do it. some of which are passive, and others are more aggressive, depending on your dog’s personality.
Making rules from the beginning
The best way to train your Jack Russell Terrier to stay off the couch is to make it clear from the very beginning that he is not allowed on there. If you get him as a puppy, he will learn this rule as easily as he learns not to beg at the table, or pee indoors.
Before you get a Jack Russell puppy make this decision and agree with all family members to act the same. Persistence is the key. Never let your puppy where you don’t want him in a long run, even if he’s specially cute, tired or feeling unwell.
If he tries to get on the furniture say “No” and show him where to lay and praise him and treat for doing it your way. If you get him older, however, or you don’t think that it’s important at the puppy stage, he may crawl up on the couch when you’re not home, leaving telltale fur all over the place.
This is normal and frustrating, but can be cured without causing any harm or long lasting fear for your lovable pooch. Remember, you aren’t being cruel, you’re showing him what the rules are, just like you would with a child.
Ensure him a comfortable space to lay
One of the best ways is to give him his own bog bed that is right next to the couch. He has to like the dog bed, otherwise he won’t bother with it. When you are relaxing and watching TV, he’ll curl up right next to you on his bed and enjoy the company without being on the couch with you.
This may not work perfectly, especially if you aren’t home, but it will definitely give you a great start, as it gives him a comfortable alternative that gets him everything he wants when you are home. If he is just getting used to his new spot, treat him when he goes there or, even better, give him a rubber toy (such as Kong) stuffed with peanut butter and frozen to munch it there.
Physically block access to the furniture while you are away
If you are finding a lot of dog fur on your couch when you get home, you are going to need a better solution. One of the best ways to do it for everyone’s comfort and safety, is by using laundry baskets. Yes, you read that right. They are cheap and you always have them around the house, so why not use them?
Put them so that they cover the couch entirely, and see if that makes a difference. Since Jack Russell’s tend to be stubborn, however, you may find that they are discarded on the floor when you get home. Next time, put something inside of them, like a box of pasta or something else that rattles loudly. The next time, he goes to knock them off the couch, the clatter and noise will scare him away. If you do this often enough, your dog will be cured of his habit.
It may sound mean, doing it this way, but there will be no lasting fear in your dog, only an avoidance. Eventually you’ll get to the point where he will simply accept the fact that the couch is off limits, and the dog won’t even think to jump up there even when the laundry baskets are no longer on the couch.
Catching him in the act and redirecting him to the preferred spot
If you are looking for something else, you may have to resign yourself to simply catching your dog in the act. This can be hard, especially because they have such great hearing and will be off the couch in a flash, but it can be done. In this case, tell you dog “Off, bad dog” in a firm voice as you lead him back onto the ground.
You can make your dog sit or lie down once he gets off the couch in order to help him understand that “off” is a command, too. If this happens often enough, he may get the message, but it is certainly not a sure thing, as you never know what he does you’re not home. Don’t get mad at him and yell, don’t ever think about hitting him for doing something wrong.
It’s completely inhumane and it breaks trust and bond. Make it a positive experience with him. When you catch him on the couch, grab a toy and cox him off with a positive tone. When he gets down, give him a treat. Repeat them often enough, and he’ll associate the couch with “no treats” and therefore lose interest in getting on it at all in the first place even if you’re not home.
Repellents are also an option, assuming your dog has no sensitivities or allergies. Peppermint or citrus scents are often displeasing to your Jack Russell, so consider spraying the area before you leave to keep your dog from jumping on it. This is a great method to combine with another training option we talked about earlier, so that you can enforce the idea that you dog is to stay on the ground even when you aren’t home. It’s cost-effective and easy to do.
If you manage to control your Jack Russell while you are at home and your only concern is will he get on the furniture while you’re out, the best option is to crate train him. That way he’ll surely stay off the couch and you’ll lower his chances of getting in trouble in any way. Just don’t leave him there for too long and don’t leave him caged if you are not sure he loves a crate.
All of these options are humane and will not hurt your dog in the slightest. They are guiding tools that you can tweak and adapt to make them work for you and your situation. If you find that none of these are working, consider consulting the vet or a dog trainer for more ideas.
Remember to never be cruel to your dog. You don’t want to him fear the couch with something like an electric shock or a booby trap, because these will negatively impact your relationship and may even make him scared of the room your home or, in some cases, you.
The options listed above are all kind and effective for you and your pooch to live in harmony and still feel as though your furniture is being treated fairly.
Give these methods some time to work, and odds are that you will see a positive change with your Jack Russell terrier!
I’ve seen lots of ideas for keeping your dog away from the couch – from using a tin foil to cover it for dogs who don’t like the sound of it, or putting a vacuum cleaner as a universal dog repellent.
What are your thoughts on this matter? Tell us in the comments below.