Great Danes are as magnificent as they are big. Despite their size, though, Danes have an incredibly mild temper. But, above all, they love lazing all day every day and curling up next to their owner on the couch. However, in some cases, letting your Great Dane climb onto the couch isn’t always a good idea. In light of that, I’ll tell you how to keep Great Dane off furniture and actually stay in control over its couch-hopping nature.
Keep in mind that this is no easy task. Although you can teach a puppy to stay off furniture fairly easily, it’s nearly impossible to do so with an older Dane that has already gotten used to sleeping on the soft couch. Whatever you decide to do in the end, just be persistent and patient. Don’t succumb to scaring your dog or punishing it.
Why Great Danes Love Furniture
Great Danes are quite different than most dog breeds. For instance, they’re huge couch potatoes. They just love lying next to their owners on the couch and sleeping all day. In fact, I’ve seen Great Danes so lazy that they don’t even want to get up and go for a walk.
There’s another reason why a Dane would get fixated on a piece of furniture, and that reason is you. You see, Danes are gentle giants that adore snuggles. And you, the owner, are the main source of love and affection to your pet. So, naturally, when you sit on the couch, your companion will want to climb on there as well, in order to get as close to you as possible.
Most people are aware of all that before even getting a Great Dane as a pet. Others, however, don’t like having pets climb on their furniture, as they can create quite a mess. Sometimes, they can even chew on cushions. Still, that happens rarely, and it’s usually accompanied by other troubling forms of behavior.
Also, due to its sheer size and weight, a Dane can unintentionally hurt a child or a guest sitting on the couch.
How to Keep Great Dane Off Furniture
In order to keep your Great Dane off your couch and furniture in general, you should try teaching it the “off” command. Besides that, you should also provide it with an equally satisfying alternative. Get your furry companion a new comfy bed and place it near its favorite couch. Finally, you might also want to try covering the furniture before leaving the Dane home alone.
Even though Great Danes love nothing more than to snuggle up with their owners on the couch, I think some ground rules need to be established. Make no mistake — a Great Dane will easily take ownership of the couch if you don’t discipline it first.
I’ve seen them force their owners off the couch, and even growl when the owner tries to force them off. Therefore, no matter how much they love it, Danes have to learn that sitting on the couch is a privilege, not a right.
However, some of you might want to keep your Great Dane off the furniture altogether. If so, I strongly suggest you start training it immediately. As I mentioned already, if you let it on the couch early on, you’ll have a lot more trouble figuring out how to keep Great Dane off furniture.
First and foremost, if you want your dog to behave consistently, I advise you to lead by example. Determine the rules of the house and stick with them. So, if there is no sitting on the couch, that means no sitting on the couch, regardless of the circumstances.
Keep in mind, your Great Dane doesn’t understand the concept of exceptions. The more consistent your behavior, the easier it will be for the dog to adapt. In addition, it’ll be more likely to follow the rules even when you’re not home.
Teach It the Off Command
The answer to the question How to keep Great Dane off furniture may be teaching it the “off” command. Once it learns this command, the dog will view sitting on the couch as a reward that needs to be earned, not as a given right. If your dog doesn’t make this distinction, it won’t understand why you’re scolding it when it’s on the couch.
I suggest that you start by training your Dane to get up on the couch. Fortunately, I think most of them will be more than happy to listen to the “up” command. When the dog jumps, you should give it a small reward, such as a pat on the head or the classic “good boy!” That should be enough to incentivize it to complete the action, but not too powerful to get them to associate the couch with a reward.
Then, you should do a light hand motion, pointing at the floor, and say the “off” command. I suggest that you stay firm but positive. And when it finally gets off the couch, give your pet a tasty treat and lots of love.
I advise you to prepare for a bit of stubbornness on the dog’s part. It’s your job to remain calm, positive, and to keep the training process fun. Getting nervous, angry, or even worse, scolding your dog for failing, will only frighten it.
Cover the Furniture Before You Leave the House
Of course, we can’t always keep our pets under close watch. Whenever we leave the house, it’s up to them to keep behaving nicely. Unfortunately, some dogs only show their true raucous nature when the owners aren’t around to keep them in check.
So, if your Great Dane likes to take advantage of your absence, I advise you to cover your furniture before leaving. In addition to keeping your furniture clean, doing that will make the furniture less comfy and therefore less appealing for your dog to snooze on.
For instance, you could use some sort of rough, prickly mat to cover the furniture. Obviously, you don’t want anything that would injure your Great Dane’s soft, delicate skin. I had lots of success with an upside-down car floor mat. Alternatively, you could try placing laundry baskets, baby gates, and similar bulky objects on them.
However, I think that covering the furniture isn’t the definitive answer to the question How to keep Great Dane off furniture. They’re quite smart, not to mention stubborn, and chances are they’ll find a way to get rid of anything you use to block their path to a comfy bed.
That being said, I still think covering the furniture is a good temporary solution. It’s a great way to keep your furniture intact while you teach your dog the “off” command.
Provide an Equally Comfy Alternative
When you want to stop a certain dog behavior from occurring, you need to provide a good alternative. So, if you want your dog to keep off furniture, you need to provide it with another warm, comfy place where it can sleep, i.e. a proper dog bed.
I advise you to get a bolstered bed so your dog has something to lean on. Because of their huge stature and long, lanky legs, Great Danes prefer to lean on something when they lie down. In addition, they love sleeping in an elevated place, so you could get a lifted dog bed to make your dog as comfy as you can.
You should place the bed as close to you as possible, as Great Danes greatly value intimate connection with their owners. Besides that, you need to make the bed a fun place to be in. If you fill it with toys and treats, your dog will surely prefer it to the couch.
In addition, when you’re teaching your dog the “off” command, I suggest you guide it to its bed after it gets off the couch. That way, it’ll know where to go instead of being on the couch.
Now that you know how to keep Great Dane off furniture, it’s time to assess your own expectations. The thing is — you have to be realistic and understand that you’ll probably fail at first. Although it isn’t impossible to teach an old dog new tricks, you can’t expect your dog to change its behavior in a day. Rome wasn’t built in a day either. You have to keep trying, stay consistent, and arm yourself with plenty of patience.