The previous article looked at the most common reasons that dogs select furniture to sit on and mostly its around being safe and comfortable. not only will other smaller animals not be able to get them at a disadvantage when they are sleeping, but they can see things approaching from further away so can play the guard dog roll.
If your dog is very social and doesn’t have much guarding in them, if they are chilled, then the sofa might be all about just finding the most comfy bed. For instance many of you will know that dogs turn in circles to brush away imaginary reeds and brush that they would hae to make into a comfortable bed if laying down out in the wild.
So why wouldn’t a dog enjoy a nice comfortable lounge or pillow to reset their head. Their necks get sore too, so if they can find a pillow and an arm of a chair to rest their head, it will make sense from a comfort point of view.
Why you should keep your dog off the furniture
Now this is not being written as ammunition for one partner to use against another, but its the facts of dog behaviour that I am writing this from.
The main issue besides potentially contracting pests from your dog such as lice or fleas, is that of dominance. they say that if your dog is overly aggressive that denying them access to everything in the house will keep them a little better in check with their behaviour towards you and other dogs.
NOTE if you walk your dog off lead every day, and its very social and not aggressive, then you may not notice a large difference in behaviour from being allowed on your setting and not being allowed.
HOWEVER, allowing your dog on your bed, unless it is very passive and submissive will generally be a bad idea regarding dominance issues. Dogs are smart enough to know that if they have won the final battle, your bed, then they are equal to you. They might not show it with overt actions against you, but they are more likely to misbehave or be dominant with other people and dogs in an off lead and on lead situation.
NOTE – a caveat here is that my own primary dog is actually a LOT more aggressive and dominant directly to me when allowed on the bed than when he has been relegated to his own bed on the floor. They doesn’t specifically seem to show any aggressive anti social behaviour towards other humans or dogs, but the bed really elevates his feeling of status in our own home.
The reason you may want to keep your dog off your furniture (in the dog behaviour realm, rather than because of what humans think) is because the best dog is a balanced dog, and anytime they start thinking they own all of the house, they might think they own you. And you are not going to get the most balanced dog out of allowing this claim all territory behaviour.
Separation anxiety and allowing your dog on all seats
The other issue is for anyone with dogs with major separation anxiety issues. IF you walk your dog for a long time off lead in the morning before you head for work, and its not a puppy and it has separation anxiety, feeling equal with you won’t help.
I had one client that broke up with her human partner and she showered her large rescue dog with love, but little discipline. they sat on the lounge together, ate together and the dog slept on her bed.
When she left in the morning the dog got so bad with throwing itself against the fortified gate and bleeding it needed to eventually be given away. She could not fix the problem she created, and in fact no one had told her that it was her setting no boundaries and allowing the dog on every surface that was a large part of its separation anxiety issues.