On and Off

Dogs can have strong feelings about specific locations. If they feel a location is important or desirable they may be inclined to protect it. These exercises help ensure that your dog will get off the furniture, move away from the front door, out of the kitchen, or whatever the location may be, comfortably, and reliably when you ask.

Anywhere that you may need to move your dog on or off or in and out, is where this work gets done. For instance, the bed, the couch, a table that simulates a vet examining table. Also include the front door, the kitchen, the garden gate, the crate, and out from under a coffee table or bed.

The whole idea of these exercises is that the dog is reinforced for going to the location that he may consider less desirable. You need to make that location the desirable spot, the spot that the dog will gladly go to because we have taught him that when he leaves a place that he may be inclined to guard, good things happen.

For example, if your dog is hanging out under the coffee table chomping on something delicious and you want him to come out and give up what’s in his mouth, you had better make it worth his while. Otherwise, you may encounter a dog that growls and bites at your hands as you reach under there to bring him out.


Start with the puppy beside you on the floor.


Invite the pup up onto the couch. If the pup is too little to jump on any furniture, simulate the furniture with some pillows or a foot stool.


When he gets there, no big deal, give a few wimpy pats and that is about it.


Invite the puppy off the couch onto the floor (or cushion), pat the floor, make a kissing sound, use a treat, do whatever you need to do. Once the pup gets off, the good stuff happens: delicious treat, belly rubs, oohs, and ahs of admiration for the wonderful job he/she has just done!
In other words, boring to get up on the couch, exciting and wonderful to get off. Be careful with small puppies and furniture. You will need to create a step for them to safely get on and off. Couch cushions work great!