dog on couch

Consistent, Invisible Enforcement

Question:
We recently adopted a wonderful 100# black Lab. We are seeing excellent progress in correcting misbehavior except the sleeping on furniture. We have placed obstacles on sofas to get him to sleep on his doggie bed to no avail. Spraying “Boundary” has no effect. He sleeps upon or moves boards, ropes across the cushions, boxes, etc. When he hears me getting up he gets off the furniture. We correct him with firm ‘OFF!’ command. Repeat ten thousand times. So, we seemingly have the rest of our lives to correct this habit.

Dr. Nichol:
I get it. You love your dog but you don’t want dirt, hair, and an unclothed rear end on their furniture. Busting a crime in progress may feel righteous in the moment but your Lab has learned the wrong lesson. He thinks his only mistake is being on the couch when local law enforcement arrives on the scene. Your sofa is a comfy and, by canine logic, a legal resting spot at all other times.

Dogs need 100% consistency. You could booby trap your furniture with Snappy Trainers – mouse traps with floppy paddles that would gently whack your behemoth of a dog as he creeps onto the forbidden couch. I wouldn’t bet on him even noticing.

Tony, the Nichol family cat, is similarly devious. He would love to scavenge from our kitchen counter after stepping around in the litter pan. Deterring this assault on my family’s wellbeing makes sense to my medical brain; we learned parasitology in veterinary school. Thanks to our Invisible Fence Indoor Avoidance System our kitchen is off-limits to cat paws.

A radio wave from the Invisible Fence “shield” you locate under your couch will trigger a beep and then a static electricity strength shock from your dog’s receiver collar. Training any pet to this new reality is easy.

Electric shock!!!??? My 9# cat advances his neck toward the invisible boundary just to test the battery. He is patient and persistent but he’s clear on the rules.

You don’t want to be the enforcer. Consistency, 24/7, is a kind and effective teacher for man’s and woman’s best friends.

Each week Dr. Jeff Nichol makes a short video, blog, or a Facebook Live to help bring out the best in pets. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Dr. Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). You can post pet behavioral or physical questions at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.