While you love spending time with your dog, you don't like it when he starts jumping on the furniture. Rather, you prefer when he hangs out on the floor or in his crate. Or perhaps you're OK with him jumping on the furniture, but just not when it's uncovered.
You worked hard to afford your nice chairs and other furniture, and you don't want your dog ruining them with his dirt, slobber, sharp claws, and bad smells. That's why you're looking into teaching your dog to stay off chairs at certain times and simply hang out in his own areas instead.
By learning how to train your dog to start jumping on the furniture the right way, you can prevent him from doing it while ensuring that he doesn't feel hurt or rejected by you in the process.
Why dogs love jumping on chairs
Dogs are just like humans in that they want to feel comfortable. Also, since they are pack animals, they feel like they're part of your "pack" and equal or above you in the hierarchy when they get to cuddle up with you on the furniture. Of course, they just want your love, and snuggling up on the sofa with their favorite person in the world makes them feel better.
If your dog is jumping on your dining room chairs, it likely occurs while you're eating. The reason why is simple: he wants some of your food. He may jump on a chair, rest his face on the table, scratch the table, whimper, and/or give you puppy eyes to show that he's hungry. This may annoy you, especially if you have guests over.
To keep your dog from jumping on chairs and other furniture, you need to either invest in a professional dog trainer or learn how to do it yourself.
How to train your dog not to jump on chairs or other furniture
If you have a puppy, it's going to be easier to train him to stop jumping on the furniture. If you have an older dog, however, you can still teach him new tricks with some patience and dedication to training.
To level train your puppy, lead your puppy to the chair (using a leash if necessary). When he prepares to jump up, say "off" and encourage him to come back down to the ground by offering a treat. When he listens to you and does this, say "yes" or use your clicker (if you're using clicker training), and give him the treat as well as praise.
You may have to do this many times before he understands. Keep practicing, he'll get it eventually!
If you have an older dog, you'll have to do permission training (if you want to allow your dog on the furniture with permission—if not, you can use the steps listed above to keep your older dog off the furniture). Your dog needs to be at least six months old to switch from level training to permission training. First, take your to the chairs and say "wait," offering a treat (but not giving it to him yet). He should sit and look at you at this point. This signals that he's asking for permission.
Tap the cushion of the chair and say, "up." He may not know what to do, so gently help him up and pet him (using your hand that the treat is in). Once he jumps up, say "yes" or use your clicker, and give him the treat. Again, you will probably have to repeat this several times.
After a few minutes, show him to get down while saying, "off," and reward this behavior in the same way (with your clicker or "yes," and a treat).
Repeat as needed until your dog learns the process. This is a multi-step process that can be difficult for dogs to learn. Be patient!
When training, never scream or shout at your dog. Dogs, as a species, learn from gentle encouragement and positive reinforcement, not stern punishment.
Other ways to protect your furniture
To protect your chairs further, you could invest in chair covers that you attach to the legs just in case your dog forgets and starts jumping on the furniture again. You could also install a dog gate to stop your dog from going in the room with your chairs in the first place. Remember to always be consistent with training and to reward, not to yell or scold.
You can train your dog to stop jumping on chairs with a bit of practice. Just take the time to really do your training – as hard as it may be to say no to your dog – and teach him to go to his comfy bed instead of your nice chairs.