It's frustrating when Bruno scratches and jumps while trying to get on the sofa to get closer to you. Training him to stop an unwanted behavior takes some work, as well as consistency from everyone in your household. However, before you know it, Bruno will be a well-behaved puppy curled up at your feet, rather than an annoying pooch jumping up on the furniture.
You probably didn’t realize it at the time, but you actually trained Bruno to jump up on the furniture by giving in to his demands. He jumped and pawed at your legs until you gave in and let him sit next to you. You taught him unintentionally that throwing a fit makes him get his way. So, the next time he wants up, he knows exactly what to do. Naturally, the first thing you must do to keep him from bouncing up and down is to ignore him. If he manages to get up on the furniture on his own, don’t make a big deal out of it. Even angry attention still is attention. Just pick him up and put him back down on the ground without saying a word or making eye contact. Always wait until he sits and holds still before petting him.
Pick a Cue
Pick out a cue to use as a command during your training. The next time Bruno gets up on the furniture, say "off" or "leave it" and then put him right on the ground. Wait until he calms down and then praise him. He must start learning that that particular word or phrase means that he has to get off the furniture before he will get your attention. Everyone in your family should use the same cue word.
The Spray Bottle
Fill a spray bottle with water and set it so it squirts a straight stream of water. Most dogs don’t like being sprayed in the face. If Bruno tends to jump up on a dining room chair while your family is sitting and eating dinner, simply squirt him without having any other reaction. A simple spray or two should startle him so he wants to get away. It might take several sessions, but he’ll start to learn that getting on the chair isn't pleasant. Some dogs learn to despise the spray bottle so much, they’ll actually run away at the mere sight of it. All you have to do at this point is set the spray bottle right on the edge of the table where he can see it. Odds are, you probably won’t even have to use it after he gets the hint.
Setting up Booby Traps
Set up booby traps while you’re sitting down relaxing or while you’re away. The goal is that he starts to associate the furniture with something unpleasant. Fill empty soda bottles with pebbles or pennies and tape up the hole. Line the edge of your sofa or coffee table with these cans. The next time Bruno decides to hop up there, he’ll knock off the cans, which will make a loud noise that startles him. Sometimes double-sided tape does the trick too. Attach a few pieces of tape to the edge of your sofa or other piece of furniture he loves. The next time he jumps up there, his paws will stick – not a pleasant feeling for dogs. Eventually he’ll figure out that getting up on the furniture isn't as fun as it used to be.
You'll need to direct his attention towards something that pleases you. If you need a few minutes to wind down after work, hide some chew toys or rawhide bones. These treats come out only when you’re sitting on the sofa and he should be relaxing on his bed nearby. Get your whole family involved in the training process. If you and your significant other are vigilant in Bruno’s training, you won’t have much success if your daughter lets him jump on the sofa whenever she’s alone with him. Additionally, while you’re training him, keep him in your line of vision at all times. If you’re in the kitchen making dinner and give Bruno the roam of the house, he’ll go right in and jump up on the cozy cushions.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.