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Should we let our dogs on the furniture

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Well lets face it, this is a tuffie!

I was bought up with dogs and cats in the house from a very early age and it was always the case that the dogs had their own beds and the cats were allowed on the furniture. I think that stemmed from my Dad, who was bought up in a military house, with a strict mother, who would never of dreamed of letting the dog on her sofa!

So naturally when I moved out and got my own pets (and my sister is the same with her dogs), the dog had her own bed and the cats could go on the furniture (rule the roost!), as their way of getting away from a boistrous puppy. I also had young children, so it seemed logical.

Rowan has never been a particularly cuddly dog and will give anyone that tries a gentle growl, even me if shes not in the mood! she has always "seemed" to like to get into her own bed in the evening and know that is where she wont get disturbed. However who knows she might of been completely different if we had let her up.

There is a theory that dogs are pets and therefore should be treated as such, after all, it hasn't been that long since we actually invited them into our homes, in France it is still quite alien to have a dog in the house and its only the really pampered pooches that dont have to live in kennels outside. so for some people letting them on the furniture is a step too far.

Since starting this business, I have done quite a few house sits now and more often than not, the dogs are allowed on the sofa (one of which Rowan gets to come too and she doesn't seem to be bothered when the other two dogs jump up and she has to stay in her bed, out of habit, sometimes its like musical beds, as the dogs have beds too and they are always swopping about to get comfy, even having a go in Rowans, when she is on theirs).  

And actually I quite like it, when I get to snuggle with a dog (or I might just be missing my cats!) especially the smaller dogs (who dont squash you!), I have one that will sit next to me in the evening and I "tuft" the hair on the top of her head, until she falls down asleep on my chest in complete contentment! And I haven't done it yet but I'd love to do an evening sit with Harly and Marly the chihuahua's, so cute!  

There is something about, sitting next to a dog in the evenings and just gently stroking them, which is really comforting for both dog and human.

There is no right or wrong to this, its totally up to you, if you want to let your dogs on the furniture. Just bear in mind they will get hairy (so best to cover them in something when its just you, so you can whip it off when you have guests so they dont go away with a hairy bum!) and they might also be a good place for fleas and ticks to hide, so you will need to regularly clean and hoover down cracks.

You do need to make sure allowing your dog on the furniture has some ground rules. They must know that it is a privilege for them to share your space, a reward for good behaviour, so they shouldn't really go up unless they have been invited.

Its advised that you should keep puppies off the furniture for the first 6-12 months, until they get out of the destructive stage and they are properly house trained, it wont be very pleasant if you sit in a wet patch you didn't notice!  And older dogs being introduced to the house should be kept off for the first 3-6 months.  You want to raise a dog that knows furniture access can be taken away without causing emotional distress.

I advise that your dog should always have their own bed as well, this gives them somewhere that is solely theirs (dont let children climb all over them when they are in their bed or crate), this should be their place, where they can "get away from it all".  And standing in a dogs bed to show your dominance is a myth.

Teach your dog the "off" cue, so if you need them to get down, saying "off" will get them straight down without a stand off. And dont let them jump up without asking first. One of my sitting dogs will rest her head on the sofa, until you say she can get up. An alternative is to get them to sit first and then say "up".

It is said that a benefit to letting your dogs on the furniture, is that you can give them a health check.  I do slightly argue with that, as it implies that Rowan never has any close contact with me, as she doesnt cuddle. When in fact, I will spend time with Rowan on the floor, every day, gettting up close and personal, checking her over, now she is getting older she has a few cystie lumps growing, so I like to keep an eye on them to make sure they are not getting too big too quickly and I will check her ears and eyes, running my hands over her entire body, checking for thorns, ticks and any cuts.  Rowan and I have a very close bond, to the point she is a leech! So I dont believe, not letting her on the sofa has effected our relationship in any way. I dont think I could be any closer to her!!

It is totally not ok, to let your dogs on the furniture if they are showing any signs of possesiveness or aggression towards you when they are on the furniture. If they are going for you when you approach, this needs to be sorted and it would be advised to seek advise from a trainer or behaviourist.

Enjoy your dogs, in what ever way you choose, its up to you!

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