Dog Ownership

Pros and Cons of Letting Dog on Couch



We have four dogs and two of them relax on the couch. The other two dogs spend their days on the floor on dog beds, carpet, etc. There are reasons for this decision, which is why we wanted to tackle the pros and cons of letting dog on couch.

The Pros and Cons of Letting Dog on Couch

The following pros and cons of letting dog on coach won’t suit all dog owners. Allowing your dog on the couch is a personal choice, but that choice can be hard to make. That’s why you’re here. Now, let’s get to it.

dog on couch

The Pros of Letting Dog on Couch

Let’s start with why it’s a good idea to let your dog on the couch.

Receive Emotional Support

Binge-watching Netflix isn’t as satisfying when you don’t have someone by your side, and in this case, your furry friend. Your pup is right by your side when you need a hug, kiss, or cuddle during emotional scenes.

Spend Quality Time

You decided to become a dog owner because you want to be the mom or dad of a pup. Dog ownership comes with spending quality time with your furry friend. The problem is that it’s not always easy to get down on the floor to play and cuddle. Letting your pup get up on the furniture with you makes it easy to spend quality time with him/her.

Give Love

In addition to spending quality time with your dog, letting your dog on the couch makes it easy to give him/her love. Your dog LOVES you and shows that in many ways. For humans, it’s a bit harder to show a dog you love him/her. Petting, hugging, and cuddling are much easier when your dog is right there with you on the couch.

Keep Out of Trouble

Dogs with behavioral issues wander off to do what they do, but when they are right next to you on the sofa, you know he/she isn’t getting into trouble. One of the reasons dog owners put their puppies on the couch is because they can keep an eye on them when they have to go potty.

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Dog Sleeps Better

Let’s be honest. The couch is a comfortable place. That comfort leads to good sleep quality for your pup. While your preference isn’t for your dog to sleep in the living room, it can help you with your sleeping at night. This is especially true if you decide not to have your furry friend sleep with you on your bed at night.

Makes Regular Brushing Easier

For older individuals who have a difficult time bending over, brushing their pup on the couch makes it much easier. While there may be a lot of dog hair on the couch afterward, it’s not too much of a problem to clean it up with a vacuum.

As you can see, there are many positive effects of allowing your dog on the couch. Before you jump to grab your dog and put him/her on the couch, consider the cons of letting the dog on the couch.

cons of dog on couch

The Cons of Letting Dog on Couch

Many people can rattle off hundreds of cons to letting a dog on the couch. Keep in mind again that couch privileges for a dog are a personal choice. Consider the following cons in your decision-making.

Pet Dander

When dogs jump, shake, and scratch themselves, dander goes everywhere. It’s a bit heavier than dust so it doesn’t float through the air as easily. This means that it often lands close to where the dog has been, which means it will land on the furniture if your dog is on it.

Not everyone is allergic to pet dander, but if you ever have people over at your house who is allergic, they may have an allergic reaction when sitting on your sofa.

Pet Hair

Along with the pet dander, pet hair is also another con of letting your dog on the couch. Dogs often find their favorite spot on the sofa to lay and that’s usually full of dog hair. Unfortunately, that hair travels, so it ends up all over it.

If you mind having dog hair on your clothes, couch privileges for your pup are probably not a good idea.

Just to throw it out there. We have covers on our couch cushions that can be removed and washed. It’s very easy and with only the small dogs on the sofa, we don’t have to worry too much about a lot of hair. That’s especially true since one of them is a Yorkie and she doesn’t shed much.

You may want to consider a dog shirt for shedding if you are concerned about dog hair and dog dander on your couch. Read more here: Do Dog Shirts Help with Shedding

You may also want to consider a pet protector for your couch. It can give you the best of both worlds – your dog is near you on the couch and on a dog bed.

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Makes Crate Training Harder

If you ask most dogs if they prefer a couch or crate, they will likely respond couch. This could make crate training very difficult if you allow your dog on the sofa BEFORE crate training is established.

Dirty Paws

If your dog ever goes outside and you don’t notice his/her paws being dirty, that dirt will be all over your sofa. That’s never fun. Been there, and done that several times. This comes with the decision to allow your dog on the couch.

Risk of Separation Anxiety

Allowing your dog on the couch means having your pup by your side much more, which has a lot of positive effects. Unfortunately, there are negative ones as well. Separation anxiety can become worse because the closer your dog is to you, the harder it’s going to be when he/she isn’t near you.

Keep in mind that separation anxiety isn’t a problem for all dogs. Some pups suffer from more anxiety than others. Allowing your dog to spend more time with you on the couch isn’t always a precursor to him/her suffering from separation anxiety.

Turns Into a Dog Bed

If you haven’t taken a whiff of your dog’s bed in a bit, go ahead and do it now. Chances are, your dog’s bed doesn’t smell awesome. Well, unfortunately, if you allow your dog onto the couch, the couch will smell like a dog bed.

If you do decide to allow your dog on the couch, you’ll just need to clean the couch more often. When we don’t feel like taking the couch cushion covers off, we use our BarkBath Dual to steam clean them.

Older Dogs Have Trouble

Older dogs may have trouble getting up on the couch. If you have younger dogs that are on the couch, your older dog may get jealous. This is especially true if your older dog is used to getting up on the couch and now can’t physically make it on the furniture.

Potty Accidents

If you have a puppy or even an older dog that can make it up on the sofa, potty accidents can happen. Not only can this destroy the couch, but the cleanup can be grueling depending on the type of couch you own.

How to Keep Dog Off the Couch

If you decide to keep your dog off the sofa, it’s a good idea to implement that house rule as soon as possible. For many dogs, once they are allowed on the couch, it’s very hard to break that habit.

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The following are some tips on how to keep your pup off the couch.

  • Communicate to all family members that the dog cannot be on the couch. It can be confusing to dogs if some people allow the dog on the couch and others don’t allow it.
  • When you’re away from home, put up a baby gate to block your pup from going into the living room. That way you know that your dog can’t get on the couch. If you have a larger dog, there are higher gate options.
  • Consider not allowing your dog on your bed either. Again, this can be confusing to your dog if he/she is allowed to be on the bed but not the couch.
  • Consider hiring a dog trainer to help you keep your dog off the couch. A dog trainer can teach your dog the fundamentals of not getting on the couch, and teach you how to make the trainer effective.

How to Make the Decision

Now you know the pros and cons of letting dog on couch. It’s time to make a decision. If you don’t mind the cons or find workarounds for it, letting your dog on the couch is a good choice. If you simply can handle the cons, it’s best to not try it.

Whether you decide to let your dog on the couch or not, you’re still a good pet owner. Dogs don’t need to be on the couch to be loved.

For us, we have two small dogs and two larger dogs. One of our dogs – Barley – doesn’t want to be on the couch, so that wasn’t even a choice. Hera – the Pitball – loves to be on the couch but my husband doesn’t want her on it because she stinks and her little hairs get all over the sofa. Unfortunately, I’m not as strict, so Hera will get up on the couch when I’m on it alone. The funny thing is – she will get down if she hears or sees my husband come into the living room.

The other two dogs – Snowy (Yorkiepoo) and Paris (Yorkie) – have always been on the couch. Hera and Barley don’t seem to mind it much because it’s just what has always happened. Dogs are smart. They learn and understand house rules no matter what you decide to do.

Also, I mentioned above that once you allow your dog on the couch, you can never go back. That isn’t the case for all dogs. Like in the case of Hera, she has learned that it’s selective when I’m on the couch alone or even when no one is home.

Dogs are smart. They learn what their pet owners want and are eager to please them. Decide what works best for you and work with your dog to achieve whatever you choose.



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2 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Letting Dog on Couch”

  1. Thank you for this discussion. We are applying at dog rescues and we have already been turned down for a particular pup b/c he is has been allowed on the furniture at the foster home for the past 2 mos. The foster person acted like it would be permanently damaging to the dog if we didn’t follow suit. Another breed rescue has it on their application. My trainer years ago was fine with “no dogs on the furnture.” Thanks again for the clarity.

    • Of course Lori! It’s interesting that it was noted for the pup because it really has to do with how you train the dog once he/she is living with you. I understand that some dogs may “fight” back when they can’t get on the couch after being allowed to be on the couch somewhere else, but that’s saying that the dog is untrainable. From my experience, dogs are smart and they will understand.


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