Teach your dog to respect your personal space with this trainer's simple piece of advice

Man lying on his back on grass with his dog resting on his stomach
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Everyone will have different rules for their dogs when it comes to things like being allowed on furniture or sleeping in human beds, and that’s okay!

But, regardless of how relaxed you are, it’s a good idea to grab some of the best dog treats and teach your pup to give you personal space. After all, we all need it at one time or another, even if you’re doing something as simple as sitting down with a cup of hot coffee and you don’t want to spill it! 

Certified dog trainer Melissa Goodman of Mission Pawsitive has explained why, and how, to teach your dog to give you personal space in a recent Instagram post, and it’s really interesting. 

“The key to teaching your dog to give you space when you’re on furniture, or to stay off completely, is to make the floor more valuable,” Goodman explains. In the video, she’s training a puppy, Abby, who jumps on her. As a result, she disengages and resets Abby by tossing a treat away from her.

Goodman continues, “When she makes her way back to me, I reward her before she has a chance to do the undesirable behavior, and any time she makes a better choice.”

What Goodman wants Abby to do is to lay down on the floor rather than get up on the couch, or on herself. She explains that she helps dogs think on their own as much as she can, because then they’ll begin to offer desirable behaviors without you asking. If you want to know how to keep dogs off the couch and keep your furniture fresh, this is a safe bet to try!

In the video, Abby gets up but sits – which means that she gets a reward – but Goodman again tosses the food away to help Abby learn that food gets delivered at a distance for this exercise. “Because I toss the food away,” she says, “I set her up to want to lay down again.”

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get your timing completely right with this exercise – if you don’t manage to catch your pup before they do the undesirable behavior. As Goodman says, “If my timing is off and I miss it, not a big deal. I just disengage so I don’t reinforce the behavior and reset her so we can start over.”

If you want more tips on keeping your furniture protected from your furry friends, you might find this article helpful: 10 ways to protect furniture from pets.

Milo's Kitchen Chicken & Apple Sausage Slices  
$9.99 at Chewy

Milo's Kitchen Chicken & Apple Sausage Slices 
<a href="https://www.prf.hn/click/camref:1011l8tqY/pubref:hawk-custom-tracking/destination:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.chewy.com%2Fmilos-kitchen-chicken-apple-sausage%2Fdp%2F139715%3FadId%3D121e4340-3fee-41e8-a4a1-56547160232c%26adPayload%3DolqY0Tkn8kd_g8uT94PYcUdAy-8ByYukq8CDsXU1ZGlv-KGZ-q5QEG4S9YolR8ZG66sAjq9mg1_dAp6CTSbJdq5-9bh_XgH6IxE9IKFUqQr77B0qG4GvUECiJrH8mOXmg3Ry4yHMQ7a6WCYq88yY2xolcFO0soPnpTd09NFJ9izQefqo8RmHyrr8ZUMgzCj8TlYLFB0JkUYOke4svIxJe_u9ZB-uoCeP02Q3PiIm37ZkGZu17zkf-SjrzHNlRCknGsXW_wHlczijTCYUxf_SnnMP_NhcpiP7DfQylH97pVpK4f4Fm2V7G3uS_zYOLNHJYGkRB8JJEs9rDLk5Bhjng4Ielb17PXOhB-49agTspSQ8bEVT13__QsqqLb5xPVXeL_DI2efZWJjvdh92O7uRf1SexPbQTfLpXEfptHFBIMmPkl_QyHtEmGJpxkMFviQHlczbqTT17dWfM-TH3k10B6b6MX0ooJ7Da5SF5e7MfIjNI8QRk36cZGPw7IKeKPu-d6IxtAANnhwgzWSq1czqeDaRRVG05L9QqqXVQI_UM4WexhvswsqB_D8_w2XtDvKukM3blsiaUwMlyzzLZUTLFBihGxT3EKfMPfle3ucTv-0%253D" data-link-merchant="chewy.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">$9.99 at Chewy
Made with real chicken and apples, these deliciously wholesome meaty morsels are made without artificial flavors or colors and are great as a snack or training treat. 

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.