Little Miss Ellie seems to ignore me when I tell her to get off the couch. She jumps up there every now and then, mostly when she is excited and playing. We always tell her "OFF!" but she will not listen. She has listened to the commaned before, so I think she understands it. I have to pull her off the couch every time. Sometimes she'll even go right back up. She'll be 5 months next week and is quite a handful. Anyone have any advice on this?
At 5 months old, she's still little. Moreover, dogs don't generalize well, and so what they understand well in some contexts they won't understand in other contexts. And cues need to be taught gradually while increasing the variables of duration (how long you expect them to obey), distance (how far away you are), and distraction (how excited they are, or how many environmental distractions there are).
So it sounds like Ellie doesn't realize that "off" means "get off and stay off," and she's apt to get too excited to remember that she's not supposed to be on the couch.
There are a few things you can do here. First, is she ever allowed on the couch? If so, I would not allow it. It's very confusing to be up sometimes and not others, and easier just to have one rule. Second, you need to back up and teach "off" better when she is NOT excited. The easiest thing to do is this: (1) Make it difficult for her to get up on the couch (try a barrier or pillows or newspapers for now, although they may not work). (2) Make it more rewarding to stay off the couch than to be on it. When you say "off" and she jumps off, do you reward? You should! Reward generously with praise and other things she likes (like treats). (3) Train an alternative behavior. Teach "go to your place" (go to a dog bed) if she doesn't already know it. When you think she might jump on the couch, tell her to go to her place, and reward generously when she does.
There are various diabolical tricks you can try to scare the crap out of her when she jumps up (e.g., upside-down mousetraps covered with newspaper), but it's not something I'd recommend.
I am totally not an expert, but since Ranger will be coming home in less than a week, I've read 4 books and have 3 more coming from Amazon! I'm addicted! Maybe something I've read will help.
Maybe she thinks you are playing when you pull her off and maybe when you yell, she thinks you are barking at her.
Try putting some coins in an old soda can and when she does her bad behavior throw it toward her direction (not to hit her in case someone thinks that is what I mean).
Don't let her see you throw it though, she cannot know where it is coming from.
Maybe it will startle her.
Also, you can try spraying her with water and using your "off" command. But, when you say it, say it very calmly in a conversational tone. And, then start to praise her, expecting the correct behavior. I know it sounds lame, but that's how I taught Allie "leave it".
Please share what helps. I was having this problem for a while too because my 19 YO son was allowing Allie on the couch when no one else was around.
I personally HATE the pennies in the can solution. It can backfire and make your dog noise fearful.Originally Posted by alliesmom
Training to follow your direction is the best way and it will require time and dedication.
I would stop focusing on not wanting her on the couch and instead teach her where is a good place to be (her bed, etc.) Reward her everytime she goes there and when she lies quietly.
<br /><br />Zlata & Chocolata
Doolie completely understands what off means- unfortunately he thinks it means... Everytime I want a treat, I jump up, get told to get off, when I do I get a treat. If I want more treats, I will repeat. Jump up, get told to get off, get a treat. - He can be such a smart @**
Nathan's right -- A dog has a tough time with sometimes... sometimes the couch is okay and other times it's not. Declare a moratorium on the couch and enforce the rule with either a collar correction or a time-out downstay in another part of the house.
Pennies in the can -- Heh-heh. We tried that when Wesley was younger. One of the least-effective training methods this side of bitter apple for him (YMMV, of course). He'd merely glance at the can and shoot us a "WTF? Am I supposed to be affected by THAT?? C'mon. Ya gotta do better than THAT" look.
Rather than pennies you can use canned air. Blow it at the dogs feet not in its face.
Thanks for all of the replies! Madei - that is too funny that Doolie jumps on the couch because the end result is a treat
Ellie is never allowed on the couch. My husband has let her jump up on his lap (with her front paws) while he is sitting on the couch, which might be confusing her...not sure? I've asked him to stop this, as I don't want a 70+ lb. dog doing this to me! Its cute now, but it won't be when she is big. I have to remind him to never let the pup do anything now that we don't want when she is big.
I like the idea of rewarding her for going to her bed and rewarding her when she does listen to "off". I've praised her, but not given her treats for these...so I guess that is next on the list!
If I put newspapers or pillows to block her she'd rip them to threads. One of the reasons she was jumping up there is to steal my newspaper on the coffee table > Needless to say I do not leave my paper there any longer!
I haven't heard the air can thing, that sounds interesting too!
Thanks again everyone!
We tried with Jack to keep him off the couch with no luck. he wanted to be up by us so bad, we ended standing all the time. If we sat he was right there jumping on us or the couch.
We resorted to the X-Mats. After the first couple times of touching them, he stays off the couch.
Now we are using them around the bird's cage to keep him from poking his nose where it will get bit.