Can You Allow One Dog on the Couch and Not the Other?


For many pet parents, the choice of letting them into the family living space brings up some issues. For instance, if you have two dogs, you might wonder whether you ought to treat them equally – like you’d treat your kids. After all, your dogs are part of the family, right?

You can allow one dog on the couch and not the other, especially if one dog sheds lots of hair everywhere. Rewarding your dog for their good behavior is much more effective than scolding or punishment. Dogs learn much quicker under this type of command.

This article will explain the answer to this question in greater detail. It will also include a few related topics, including:

  • Why you might not want dogs on your couch
  • How to ensure your pups coexist peacefully – even with different privileges
  • What to do if you want no dogs on your couch

Why You Might Allow One Dog on the Couch and Not the Other

Apart from hair shedding, there are other reasons why you would decide to have one dog on your couch and not the other. Some of these are:

  • Their size – it’s easier to have a small dog on the couch than a large dog.
  • Their coat might be too oily.

How to Deal With the Situation

If you allow one of your dogs to sit beside you on our favorite couch but shoo off the other, two things might happen:

  • The “unwanted” dog might not only get confused but jealous too.
  • They might fight over the couch – or you.

This is because he will find it hard to understand why the other pup is allowed furniture privileges but not him. So, what should you do?

Set Down the Ground Rules

While it may take some time for him to learn to accept this, it’s a perfect time to teach your dog that they can earn a reward for staying off of the couch. It doesn’t have to be an area of conflict if you can make your dog feel loved.

Remember that canines respond best to rewarding their behaviors. If you want your pup to stay off the couch, don’t yell at them. This sort of aggressive, commanding presence will lead to confusion.

Also, if you have more than two canines and couches, set the rules in such a way that each dog knows which couch they have access to and which one is out of bounds.

Your dog must remain loyal and respectful of your wishes. However, treating them as if you’re the alpha male of the pack (a theory that has been proven to be a myth repeatedly) will lead to fear and possibly aggression.

Don’t forget to train your dogs to get off the couch on your command or only use the sofa upon invitation. This behavior is particularly important when you go visiting with them as each household has its own rules.

The best way to set the ground rules is to work with reward-based training. Imagine being yelled at for not getting off the couch. Now, imagine that someone gives you a chocolate chip cookie for getting off. Which scenario would you like better?

Create a Special Spot

Set up a specific location for the dog and don’t allow the furniture pup to access this spot. To do this, use a blanket to wrap up several pillows so that the place is cozy, warm, and inviting.

You can also buy a dog bed or use a crate. Again, don’t allow the couch sitter to lie in this bed.

Finally, you could have your dog lie down on your feet, next to the couch. This way, he gets to stay next to you, enjoying the same closeness that the couch dog does.

Spend Time With Your Dog

Be sure to spend ample quality time with your dog. And since he can’t join you on the couch, make an effort to get down on the floor. Failure to spend some special time with him will make him feel unloved and neglected. It could also lead to problems between the two pets.

Opt for One Rule

Alternatively, you can also decide to have one rule for both of your pets. Either allow both of them on the couch or have a “no dogs on the couch” rule. It helps to promote canine harmony. Besides, if your couch dog is less dominant, it would be perceived as having low ranking by your other dog. This situation would raise conflict between the two as the low-ranking pup would have access to something of value, such as coach time.

Consider Alternative Measures

How about allowing both dogs to share your couch with you? Get a little dog bed for both of your pets and place it on the couch. You can sort out the issue of the unwanted hair by vacuuming your seat plus the floors.

Alternatively, use a washable dog blanket to protect your sofa from hair. Invest in more than one blanket so that you always have one available to cover the furniture. You can also opt to buy a stuffy old armchair and have both of them use it as their own.

Ultimately, allowing your dog on your couch is a privilege they should earn. Therefore, teach your dog to understand this from a young age or at whatever age you welcomed him into your home.

Besides, offering the dog his own special place will help reduce any possessiveness he might develop over your space.

Can You Allow One Dog on the Couch and Not the Other

Why You May Not Want Dogs on Your Couch

As a pet parent, you could decide not to share your couch with any of your canine pets. This could be due to some of the following reasons:

  • You have other pets and are worried about potential aggression
  • You have young children and are concerned about hygiene
  • You like to keep specific areas of your home pet-free
  • You don’t want the additional wear and tear on your furniture
  • Your dog becomes aggressive or growls at you when you try to get him off the couch

If you want the dogs off your couch space, do the following:

  • Invest in soft, comfortable, and size appropriate dog beds
  • Place comfortable floor pillows on the floor for your dogs
  • Ensure the floor is carpeted or use floor rugs for extra warmth
  • Use crate training to restrict couch access when you are away

In case you have a new dog, use furniture access as a reward for good behavior to help them settle in.

A new addition to the family, e.g., a baby or aged person, could make you reconsider allowing your dogs onto your furniture. This could be due to hygiene reasons, allergies, or if the older person doesn’t like household pets.

How to Share Your Couch With Your Dog Safely

To ensure your general safety and that of your household:

  • Take your dog for a wellness check-up twice a year
  • Reduce the germs and dirt your dog might bring indoors by keeping him clean
  • Keep your dog’s grooming up to date to reduce shedding and damage from sharp claws

Final Thoughts

The decision to allow your dogs to lounge on the couch is a personal one and depends on your preference and comfort level. This is because you might enjoy cuddling with your furry friends on the sofa or don’t mind dog hair that much. So, whatever you decide, ensure that every house member follows the rules consistently. You don’t want to keep shooing the dogs off the upholstery once you get home. You might end up confusing your favorite companions!

Reward them for good behavior, show love and praise when they get off the couch, and remember that dog training takes time to take effect. To book an appointment with an online dog trainer or for more information, please visit our help page.


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