Puppy on the sofa? Jumping on loads and despite your best effort just won’t stop? If you’ve ever wondered how to stop your puppy jumping on the sofa, then we can assure you, you’re not alone. It’s a question we often get asked at Zigzag ‘How do I stop them jumping on the sofa?’.
At first, it’s cute, right? All that cuddling, kissing and nuzzling into that velvety fur is adorable… but once they get older and more independent, and loads bigger, using your sofa as a climbing frame or trampoline isn’t quite how you imagined your well-behaved adult dog being! Not to mention being plastered in dog hair every time you sit down!
Never fear, we’ve got you covered, we’re going to be looking at
- Why do puppies jump on the sofa?
- How do you stop your puppy from jumping on the sofa?
- Why you might want to stop your puppy from jumping up on the sofa
Why do puppies jump on the sofa?
They want to be close to us
Well, it’s a great place to be, right? If you think about it, it’s where their favourite people (that’s us) like to sit, and they want to be close to us! We spend a lot of time on the sofa, it’s warm and soft, and smells of us, so puppies just love it!
When they’re small and cuddly it’s a wonderful thing to have a puppy snoozing in your arms while you’re relaxing in the evening, then they get to a certain age or size and we decide that we don’t want them up there anymore. That’s a pretty harsh reality for a puppy to come to terms with, so they keep trying to get on the sofa in the hope that this time it’s ok and they’ll get cuddles! Pretty sad for them really!
They want our attention
Puppies also jump up on the sofa to get our attention, which is often what they want most in the world! Even if we’re cross and asking them to get down, it means they’re getting some kind of interaction and it can turn into a bit of a game.
They love climbing
Many puppies also love to climb and gain height in general. Climbing is a natural behaviour in a dog, and is great for them learning to balance. We probably want to show them that there are more appropriate places to climb and that our sofas are not their playground!
They’re having zoomies
Some puppies jump on the sofa when they’re having zoomies, AKA the mad half hour, AKA wall of death! If this sounds like your puppy then you might want to look at how to calm a puppy down.
You might think that your puppy is being dominant by jumping on the sofa, but we can assure you this isn’t the case. Dogs just like to be up off the floor from a survival and evolutionary perspective, they’re not trying to control or ‘be above’ you, that’s really old-fashioned thinking. Read more on why dominance isn’t a thing in our guiding principles.
How to stop puppy jumping on the sofa
Teaching your puppy to stop jumping up on the sofa is going to take some time and patience, but it can be done, don’t worry!
First, we’ll look at how to manage the environment so your puppy won’t get access to the sofa, especially when you’re not there, then we’ll need to provide them with a more attractive place to sit and sleep, and teach them that that’s the place to be, then we’ll help you work out what to do if your puppy gets on the sofa anyway!
Manage the environment so your puppy can’t get on the sofa
This is particularly true when we’re out of the house, and our puppies have access to the whole house to do as they please, and sleep wherever they like. By creating safe zones away from the sofa, we reduce the opportunity to practice jumping up on there when they feel like it.
Using playpens or baby gates to set up safe confinement zones means your puppy won’t get access to your sofa and practice unwanted behaviour. What they practice they get good at, and sleeping on the sofa is hugely reinforcing!
No more puppy on the sofa?
If you’re determined to stop your puppy from being on the sofa, then you need to set clear rules, and make sure everyone in your family knows the new routine. In the short term, it is easiest if you don’t allow your puppy on the sofa at all.
It needn’t mean your puppy can’t go on the sofa forever, what works well for many people is to give your puppy a very obvious cue that they are allowed up there or not. This is commonly a particular dog blanket as that protects our sofa, and is nice and visual for the dog to see.
You need to be consistent with whichever route you take, and if your puppy jumps up without the blanket being there, you’ll need to ask them to get down. It’s important that everyone follows this rule or else it will confuse your puppy!
Make the floor a better place to be
From your puppy’s perspective, being up on the sofa with you is their favourite place to be so, of course, they want to be up there! It’s worth sitting on the floor with your puppy in the evenings, playing with them on the floor, cuddling them, letting them snooze on your lap, and not just ignoring them when you’re on the sofa and they’re on the floor!
Teach a settle on a mat or bed next to the sofa
Having a mat or bed next to your feet and giving them a stuffed chew toy, or randomly dropping a treat to reward calm settling will help them realise they can still be close to you, but they don’t need to be up on the sofa.
What if my puppy still jumps on the sofa?
Teach them a get off or get down behaviour and reward them for getting off the sofa, and then get them to do something else such as settling in a bed or mat so they don’t learn to jump up on the sofa to get treats!
Don’t tell your puppy off
If we react in a confrontational way towards our puppy, it can make them frightened and act defensively. If you’re struggling to get your puppy off of the sofa as the behaviour has been going on for a while then consider using something like a house line to make sure you can get your puppy off the sofa safely.
Why should I stop my puppy jumping on the sofa?
It’s good manners for a dog to wait to be invited up on a sofa, you might be going to someone else’s house where dogs aren’t allowed on the furniture, and you don’t want Fido doing a wall of death on someone else’s finery!
From a safety point of view, not all dogs should be jumping on and off things, Dachshunds and other long-backed and short-legged breeds can hurt themselves and do long term damage by jumping on and off the sofa.
Puppies particularly should not be jumping on and off the sofa, a simple slip or fall can have disastrous consequences to your puppy’s health, if you want your puppy on or off the sofa, it’s a better idea to lift them, or install some steps.
Does that help you figure out how you might get your puppy to stop jumping on the sofa? We hope so! We have lots of training advice, lessons and articles in the Zigzag puppy training app, to help you train your puppy to be the best they can be, and a team of puppy training coaches there to help you when things aren’t quite going to plan! Download a free trial today, and get started on your Zigzag journey.
Maybe you’re also concerned about your puppy jumping up on people? Have a read and learn how to teach your puppy not to jump up!