If you often allow Fido the run of the yard, you might be asking for trouble. He might jump and lounge on your patio furniture, and you might have to deal with removing hair and muddy paw prints. To stop your pet companion's furniture-jumping fetish, correct his behavior immediately, because the longer he enjoys sitting on the furniture, the harder it will be to break the habit. With consistency and effective tactics you can keep Fido's paws on the ground.
Tip #1 - Place a comfy dog bed near the piece of patio furniture that your dog fancies. Put dog toys on the bed to make it more attractive, and give dog treats and praise when you catch your furry friend using the bed. He might start favoring the dog bed over your patio furniture.
Tip #2 - Block your dog's access to his favorite patio furniture. Place cardboard boxes or an upside-down carpet runner on the furniture. The boxes take up space and make it so your pet companion can't jump in the furniture, and the nubby surface of the carpet runner is uncomfortable to lounge on. Your dog will think twice about jumping on the patio furniture.
Tip #3 - Supervise your pet companion each time you allow him the run of the yard. Hide yourself so your dog can't see you, and when you catch him jumping on the patio furniture, blast an air horn or shake a can of coins. The sudden noise will startle him and stop him in his tracks. With consistency, he'll think his furniture-jumping is triggering the unpleasant noise and he'll stop doing it.
Tip #4 - Spray the patio furniture with a scent that your dog dislikes. Use a commercial dog repellent or a citrus-scented spray. Your furry friend won't go near the unpleasant scent and your patio furniture will be safe from damage.
Tip #5 - Prioritize obedience training so you always can get your dog "off" the patio furniture with a simple command. Catch your dog while he's on the furniture, or lure him on the furniture with a dog treat and say "on." When he's on the furniture, say "off," hold a dog treat in front of his nose and use it to guide him off the furniture. Give him the treat when all his paws are on the ground and guide him to his dog bed. With consistency, your dog learns the meaning of "off," and eventually just the command alone will be enough to get off the furniture.
Tip #6 - Fold up the patio furniture and put it away when your dog is in the yard. If the furniture isn't there, your pet companion can't sit on it. If you don't want to move the furniture, turn it over or on its side so your dog can't get comfortable on it, or if possible, remove the cushions and pillows.
Tip #7 - Place heavy-duty, waterproof slipcovers over your patio furniture when your dog is in the yard. Your dog might not find the surface of the slipcovers as comfortable as the furniture itself, and if he does end up on the furniture, the slipcovers offer protection from damage. Additionally, the slipcovers protect furniture from the elements.
Tip #8 - Create a separate play area in the yard for your pet companion so he leaves your patio furniture alone. Fence off an area that gives your dog enough space to run and play, or fence off the entrance to the patio so your dog can't get near the furniture while in the yard. Put a kid's sandbox in the dog-friendly area, fill it with sand or soil and bury various dog toys and treats shallowly in it to encourage your dog to dig and play in the area. Place a cozy dog house in the area, and during hot weather, put a water-filled kid's pool in it to help keep your pet companion cool. Praise your dog when he uses the area to encourage him to keep using it.
Important: Never drag your dog or yell at him to get him off patio furniture. He might get defensive or he might injure himself while jumping down.
By Kimberly Caines
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About the Author
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.