Labrador Training - Jumping on Furniture

Deciding whether or not your Labrador is permitted admittance to the furniture is a pretty important decision. If you have a big dog, it’s an even bigger deal.

Furniture access is a concern of high importance for two reasons: firstly, because it’s mighty inconvenient to have to struggle for space on your own couch; and secondly, because it strongly relates to the matter of dominance, which is of the highest importance as far as a harmonious dog/owner relationship goes.

Your Labrador puppy knows that the furniture - in specific, your bed - is your domain. If he’s allowed up onto your own, private territory as a matter of action and whenever he feels like it, that’s yielding a pretty big point to him; especially since it’s rarely a two-way point (when was the last time you invaded your Labrador puppy’s own den and snuggled down for a nap in his bed?).

It’s advisable to be knowledgeable of these things before making a final resolution on furniture access for your Labrador. If you do decide to grant him unimpeded access, you’ll need to make sure that you’re extra-stringent with the remaining facets of alpha-dominance to keep him from getting an over-inflated sense of self-importance.

Usually talking, it’s a favorable idea to forbid your Labrador admittance to the furniture outright, until he’s at least 5 or 6 months old.

When a puppy’s growing up, he’s forming the foundation of his conceptions as to what constitutes suitable activity, and he’s figuring out his own seniority in the social organization of the house. If he’s allowed to leap onto beds, couches, and armchairs (the 3 most-prized pieces of furniture in the house for any Labrador) at will and from day one, he’ll have a misinformed view of his own ranking.

He won’t see it as the privilege that it is: he’ll see it as his God-given right, and something to be taken for granted. This does a lot towards equalizing your Labrador’s rank with your own, which - as far as your role as the owner goes - is emphatically not a favorable plan. To have a good relationship with your Labrador puppy, not only do you need to be the superior, but he needs to see that you are.

To prevent behavior problems from developing in adolescence, it’s commonly best to keep your puppy as humble as workable - which means that he needs to realize being allowed up ‘on your level’ is a privilege.

Rule number one, as far as this issue goes, is consistency. You must be consistent! Once you’ve made your decision as to whether or not he’s to be allowed up on the furniture, you will have to stick with that decision, or else - whatsoever that choice was - you won’t have a hope of enforcing it.

So, if he’s to be allowed up on the couch but not the bed, for example, he can never be allowed up on that bed - not even for a instant. If you resolve not to allow him up on any furniture at all, you must ensure that nobody counteracts your decision and invites him up there.

Bending the rules according to human whims and impulses isn’t fair on your Labrador. It’ll only befuddle him. He can’t tell the difference between an valuable new couch and a dirty old one, or between unsullied paws and dirty paws. This can have a prejudicial impression upon your own peace of mind (not to mention your dry-cleaning bill), and if you take that disappointment out on your Labrador puppy, it’s confusing and upsetting for him.

This is why, if you’re going to provide him any access at all, it’s a terrific idea to impose limits: to inform him that he can’t outright jump up as and when he chooses, but that he has to wait for an invitation.

Training your Labrador to join you on the settee is pretty simple. All you have to do is pat the space close to you, and - in a gay, warm tone - say, “Up you get!”. Most Labradors need little more assistance than this, and will be up like a shot before the 2nd syllable’s yet passed your lips.

The most crucial elements of Labrador training is showing your puppy what they can’t do. Hence, you’ll also need to teach the “off” command - this allows you to relax in the knowledge that, when you want some leg room, it’s there for the taking; and also reminds your Labrador, in no uncertain terms, that his furniture access is not a right - it’s a favor!

As is to be foreseen, most Labradors are less enthusiastic with obeying the “off” than they are the “up you get” command: on occasion, you may be required to utilize tangible force to confirm submission. Don’t worry, it’s not beastly in the slightest, simply highly efficient.

Here’s what you do:

* First of all, supply him with an irresistible alternative. Being told to get off a cosy seat to lie on the unadorned floor is hardly something he’s going to respond to with passionate obeisance: set him up for success, not failure, by giving him a comfy dog bed. You can create one yourself, out of towels and pillows, or you can buy ready-made dog beds in a variety of sizes and materials from the pet store.
* When it’s time for him to get off, point to the dog bed and say, “Off” in a calm, authoritative voice. No need to raise your voice or yell: use a no-nonsense, but enjoyable, tone. * If there’s no fast activity, do not reiterate yourself. Hold your arm pointing at the bed, and keep eye contact. If you have a keen Labrador, ofttimes it’s sufficient to only compound your expression (raising your eyebrows or tightening your mouth).
* Wait for 30 seconds (which can appear like an eternity!).
* If there’s no response after 30 seconds, you can resort to bodily enforcement of your command.

The Humane Physical Enforcement

Many owners drag their Labradors off by the scruff, which is effective in the short-term (provided your Labrador is of a build that you can physically handle). However, it’s not advisable - simply because, as a technique, it allows your Labrador to substantiate his refusal to obey you.

He can still dig in his paws and strain against your opposing move, which is both completely disdainful and counteractive to all the alpha-dominant behavioral teaching in the world.

It’s much more efficient to think intelligent: make him get off under his own steam, just by making the seat (or spot, or bed) awkward for him.

To do this, move your hand, palm-down, below his backside. Slowly slide your arm forwards, using it as a lever to gently pry him off the couch. It raises his bottom in the air by degrees, which is increasingly uncomfortable for him - sufficient to make him leap off the sofa of his own choice.

This is both more effective, and physically a lot less exacting, than dragging a reluctant Labrador puppy off by his collar: by making him want to get off when you ask him to, you’re strongly enforcing your compliance requirements, which is great for your portrayal as an dominant leader.

I knew nothing about Labrador Training until I decided to get 2 Labrador puppies. Then I did a lot of research and I felt confident that Labrador Training is actually quite simple. I was right… Labrador Training is simple, but this does not mean it is easy. If you want to read more about Labrador Training from somebody that owns 2 Labrador Puppy’s, Feel free to have a look at my Labrador Training blog.

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