If your dog has been getting on the couch, when you leave, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog get on the couch when I leave? Possible reasons why your dog gets on the couch, when you leave, are that it finds the spot on the couch comfortable, separation anxiety, liking the scent on the couch, or having learned that the behavior is rewarded.
There are actually a number of possible causes and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main cause and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Reasons why your dog sits on the couch when you leave
Below are a number of possible reasons why your dog sits on the couch when you leave and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
It finds the spot comfortable
The reason why your dog has been jumping on the couch could simply be that it finds the couch more comfortable than the other places available to it. This would be more likely if it also lays on the couch when you are around as well and not just when you leave.
The cause could be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it jumps on the couch when you leave home and not just the room and if it starts to become anxious when you are leaving home. It would help to reduce reasons why it might become anxious by doing things such as letting it pee, eat and get exercise before leaving it.
Encouraging the behavior
The reason why it does it might be that it has learned that it results in it getting rewards. If you tend to give it more attention or other rewards when it jumps on the couch, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not jump on the couch and to train it not to jump on the couch as mentioned below.
It likes the scent
The reason why it does it might be because it smells a strong scent on the couch and it likes the scent. This would be more likely to be the reason why your does it if it goes on the sofa when you are around as well. If it only does it when you are away, it would be more likely that your dog does it due to some separation anxiety and because the scent makes it feel more secure.
Things to consider
Below are a number of things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started jumping on the couch when you leave
If your dog did not always jump on your couch when you leave, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to things such as if you started leaving it alone for more hours or if it learned that it gets rewards for doing it.
What is different when your dog does not jump on the couch
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog tends to do it more. If it tends to do it more at a certain time, it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
If it does it when you leave home, it would be more likely that it does it due to having separation anxiety but it could still be due to things such as finding it comfortable or knowing that it will cause you to give it rewards when you get home. Whereas, if it does it when you just leave the room, it would be more likely that it knows it will result in you giving it rewards.
What to do about your dog jumping on the couch when you leave
Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that it gets rewards for doing it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it does not jump on the couch and to get it off the couch when it does it and to wait for it to calm down before rewarding it.
Limit reasons why it might be anxious
As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has been doing it due to some separation anxiety. It would help to reduce reasons why it might be anxious and by exercising it, feeding it and letting it pee before leaving. It could also help to give it things to be distracted with while you are away.
Leave it training
One option would be to train it to sit somewhere else with the use of positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage it to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
To use it to get it to sit in a certain spot you could do something such as the following:
- Make the location, you want it to sit or lay down in, comfortable.
- Get your dog to stand there and reward it
- Encourage your dog to sit or lay down by giving it a treat
- Continue to repeat the process a few times daily until it realizes that sitting or lying there results in it getting rewards