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Hi,

My boyfriend and I are adopting am 8 week-old female white shepherd puppy in three weeks. We have been reading tons on dog training and needs in the past months, and have decided on a few rules and boundaries for the dog and we want to be pretty consistent about them.

I have a little dilemna, however. I've had a german shepherd before, and I know how these dogs shed and can dirty up sofas, beds and the like... And to establish limits we would want to keep the dog off our furniture as much as possible. However, I remember loving to sleep with my dog once in a while (and we do have a king sized bed) as well as cuddle it when watching TV, even if it was a big dog. We wouldn't want her on the furniture unless we explicitly tell her she can, but as they are clever dogs I know she could see this as an opportunity to try at all times or behind our back.

So we've thought of finding a way for her to understand that she wouldn't be allowed on furniture UNLESS her designated blanket is spred on it (a small blanket that's barely larger than the adult sized dog lying down).

Does anyone find this appropriate, and if so, do you have ideas on what stages we should use to proceed to make her understand these boundaries?

Thanks a lot.
 

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I would like to reply to this by saying first that I am not an expert on this but have two small dogs and one big pup I have trained to only sit or lay where I ask them to when it comes to furniture. I started the two little dogs as brand new pups with their own blanket each. Wherever I put the blanket, I placed them on it. If they tried to get up or wanted up on a piece of furniture I always moved the blanket to the area and told them "On your Blanket". After they got to be older and asked to get up on a piece of furniture they actually would just look at me for approval. They will be 5 years old on the 26th of this month and they still have their original "Blankets". Lol!

I used a lap blanket for a human as it was easy to wash and move around. Your pup will eventually outgrow a little blanket. But it may be worth a try while the pup is still very young. Of course if my dogs tried to get up without their blanket I just said "No" and proceeded to get the blanket and show them that it had to be placed on that particular area first!

Good luck!
 

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This can be trained easily enough, but what makes you think the dog hair will stay on only one side of the dog's blanket? If a dog never gets to lounge on the couch, he won't miss it.
 

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@Abbylynn Thanks for the reply and shared experience. Have you had any trouble not letting them on the couch when they tried getting on it and you wouldn't want them to, or have you always put the blanket when they wanted to jump up?

@Marsh Muppet I don't mind a little bit of dog hair and occasionnal clean-up, I just don't want her to think she owns the sofa as well and can get on it as long as we don't block her from it. I want my pup to see it as a privilege and understand that she can't get on it unless I invite her. It's as much for boundaries and respect as for the dirt part. As for the not missing it if she never gets it -- I agree, however I am the one who might appreciate a little couch cuddling once in a while :)
 

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I like Abbylynn's idea. I see it as getting on the blanket, rather that getting on the couch. So, if you "practice" this by putting her blanket in lots of places, like, say, both ends of the couch, different parts of the floor, a chair, the kitchen floor, the bed, just all over the house, and teaching her, like Abbylynn did, "get on your blanket" than your puppy might see the key task is getting on the actual blanket, regardless of where it is.

Then, I would also teach the "off" command, to use if she tries to get on the couch without the blanket. I'd say, "off" and then redirect her to wherever her blanket happened to be at that time. Like "off", and then walk over to the blanket and say "get on your blanket".
 

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I like Abbylynn's idea. I see it as getting on the blanket, rather that getting on the couch. So, if you "practice" this by putting her blanket in lots of places, like, say, both ends of the couch, different parts of the floor, a chair, the kitchen floor, the bed, just all over the house, and teaching her, like Abbylynn did, "get on your blanket" than your puppy might see the key task is getting on the actual blanket, regardless of where it is.

Then, I would also teach the "off" command, to use if she tries to get on the couch without the blanket. I'd say, "off" and then redirect her to wherever her blanket happened to be at that time. Like "off", and then walk over to the blanket and say "get on your blanket".

Well said! Exactly! I have no problems with the two little ones because they are 5 years old now. The big pup sometimes tries and puts just the front half of her body on the couch......turns and looks at me as if to say " Look Mom....I am only HALF on it!" Lol! Even though it is cute....I am still working on the 'No" and " On your Blanket" training. She is a shedder and the boy's are not. Lol!

I have to remind myself that my pup is just 8 mo. old even if she does look like a full grown dog. She is doing well for only being with me for a few months.
 

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Treat it as a go to mat/place behavior. It's pretty easy to teach, and dead useful. I'd lean towards a larger blanket though, something the size of an afghan. That way you don't have to obsess about making sure all parts of the dog are in the boundary and the dog can relax and not worry about it either.
 
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