To sofa or not to sofa…

For some the family sofa is a no-go zone for the family dog, for others the evening cuddle with Fido on the sofa watching TV is the highlight of the day. So who is right, and who is wrong? This debate has long been raging; can we imagine our ancestors around the campfire with one family member allowing the wolf to sneak up on a rock, and Mum coming along and chucking him off?! There really is no straight-forward answer, the only rule should be that it’s your decision, and your dog should respect that. Even if you allow your dog on the sofa, just the word ‘off!’ should be enough to have your dog jump down and make room for a human. If your dog refuses, or even growls to defend the sofa, you need to seek help from a canine behaviourist. For very dominant dogs, it could be a good idea not to allow them on the sofa since this elevates them, both physically and within the pack.

If you do share your sofa as well as your home with your dog, you will want to make sure he/she is up to date with their vaccinations, as well as wormer and flea and tick treatment. In Summer months do watch out for ticks, as they can easily transfer from your dog to you, human blood is just as tasty, and we have not been treated with Frontline!

Consistency is really the key whichever way you jump with the sofa issue. When you bring home that new puppy make a family decision and make sure that everybody reinforces it, otherwise your dog will get confused. You may choose to allow your dog on the sofa at certain times as a privilege, and on command. Be careful though, you may find someone has snuck up when you were out of the room!

Another option is to create a special sofa for your dog, whether it is a normal sofa that is the only one they are allowed on, or one of the many ‘sofa style’ dog beds available now.

Be aware as well as your dog gets older, that it may not be very good for his/her joints or hips to jump up. Either provide a special soft dog bed, or create a sort of step or ramp for your dog to use to mount the sofa.

At DDB we have a question on our new client form whether dogs are allowed on the sofa or not, and our host families continue this with their guests for consistency.

Relaxing after a long walk - Much nicer than kennels!

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