Is It Okay To Let Your Dog Sit On The Couch?

Whether to let your dog sit on a couch or not is a hotly debated topic. While some people choose to let their dog enjoy the couch along with their owners, others feel that it is sending the wrong kind of message to their pet pooch. However, when it comes down to who is right and who is wrong, the lines become blurred.

This is because there is no straightforward answer. If you are wondering whether you should let your dog sit on the couch or not, then you have come to the right place.

Here we shall discuss how you can let your dog sit with you on the couch without posing any future behavioural problems, and how you can assess whether they should sit on the couch in the first place.

Assess Your Dog’s Behaviour

Before you can really know whether your dog should be sitting on the couch, you need to think about their behaviour as a whole and what privileges he has. This is the same even if your dog has already taken to sitting on the couch. Firstly, write down the characteristics of your dog.

This can be whether he is energetic, pushy, calm, or even submissive, etc. Along with this you will need to note certain behaviours that he might show and when, such as resource guarding, submissive urination, and affection.

All of this will help you to understand the kind of privileges he has. Being able to sit with you on the couch is a privilege in itself. If your dog behaves well, then sitting on the couch is a nice reward for him. If he is a badly behaved dog, then you may need to remove this kind of privilege until he improves.

Start From The Beginning: No Couch Rule

Whether you let your dog sit on the couch or not, you need to start from the beginning. He needs to understand that in order to behave, he needs to make sure he doesn’t sit on any furniture. This sets the first boundary in order for him to know where he is allowed to go.

Over time, you will be able to relax some of these boundaries and reward his good behaviour. This means perhaps letting him give you cuddles in bed, or walk on the couch. Doing it this way means he shouldn’t take advantage of being allowed certain privileges within the home.

You will also need to set certain boundaries when you do let him on the couch. This includes using communication. For example, he is only allowed on the couch when you ask him to be, rather than letting him do what he pleases. You may also want to only let him relax on a certain part of the couch too, but this is optional.

Not Every Dog Will Handle Privileges The Same

Even if you want to set boundaries when it comes to privileges, some dogs do struggle to handle them. They might start to focus on possessive behaviours instead. Sometimes it all depends on how they value the space, and in giving them certain privileges they may show serious behavioural problems.

When this happens, always seek professional help from a dog trainer who can help you modify their behaviour.

How Can You Set Boundaries For Your Dog On The Couch?

There are steps you can take to set boundaries when it comes to your dog sitting on the couch. Here are three of them to work through:

Avoid Negativity

Your dog may not be used to boundaries being set, especially if he has been able to sit on the couch whenever he likes. So you will want to avoid any negativity. This means avoiding any harsh yelling or pushing him. Doing so may also turn the training session towards being a game for your dog instead too. For this reason, a leash may help.

Add A Leash

Add A Leash

Using a leash as a way to set boundaries is a great idea. Make sure it is around six feet long so he can walk around the room as he normally would. You can then keep him away from areas he isn’t meant to go, but do remember to not shout at him or be mean. Your dog will relate this training to negative feelings which will impact the training.


When you have your dog on the leash, be gentle yet stern. If he ends up jumping on top of the couch, pull him away gently and say “off”. You can then redirect his attention to his bed or a toy.

If he plays with his toys or spends time in his bed, or something else that isn’t sitting on the couch, you can reward him. Remove the couch privilege until he doesn’t try and go onto the couch anymore.

Let Him Sit On The Couch

When you get to this stage, you can remove the leash. At this point you will want to begin inviting him onto the couch with you. Your dog may be hesitant as he might not know whether he is really allowed to or not, but this is completely normal.

Give him the “on” cue along with pats on the couch and noises, and reward him once there. Then say “off” when it is time for him to leave. This will train him to only be on the couch when you let him.

Final Thoughts

If you already let your dog on the couch and they pose no behavioural problems, then there is nothing wrong with staying how you are. The only thing you should consider is having more control if needed.

For example, if your dog leaps onto the couch and climbs all over you whenever he wants, yet you would rather he only went onto the couch when asked, then you can train him for this purpose.

Setting a boundary here and there so he understands what his privileges are is completely fine. Even so, having a dog is a wonderful experience, and no doubt, just like every other dog owner out there, you are learning something new about your pet pooch every day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Okay To Let Your Dog On The Couch?

It is fine to let your dog on the couch so long as he or she doesn’t have any behavioural issues such as possessiveness. Dogs love to sit with their owners as they watch TV, and it is unlikely to cause any issues.

Is It Okay To Let Your Dog On The Couch But Not Sit On Your Bed?

Yes, you can train your dog to be allowed on one item of furniture and not another. Setting furniture boundaries for your dog is completely normal.

Why Does A Dog Want To Sit On The Couch?

It is natural for a dog to want to feel comfortable and safe. Just like us humans, sitting on the couch has that same feeling about it. Plus, dogs also like to snuggle up with their humans because they feel safe and protected doing so.

Why Do Some People Not Let Their Dog On The Couch?

Because dogs are pack animals, some people believe that allowing their dog to sit on the couch means that their pet pooch will feel equal or above them. However, so long as you set boundaries and only let them on the couch when you allow, then it won’t create problems.


  • Jonathan Spaeth

    I'm a professional business person who loves dogs. I'm motivated by a passion for dogs and a deep understanding of pet care and behavior. I have more than 10 years of experience in animal healthcare—my lifelong passion for helping dogs.

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