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I have a 3 months old boxer at home that has been with us for 2 weeks. Right now our couch is completely off limits, We don't want him to go to the couch to scratch it but we would like to sit with him on the couch when we're around. Is there a way to make him understand that he can go on the couch only with us? He is very smart and eager to learn, on this short time he has already learned some tricks and where he has to use the bathroom.

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Yes and no.

It is going to be difficult to teach the dog it can get on the couch if; I am on it, or if someone else is on it, or if we are both on it, but not if no one else is on it. My wife has some complex rules like this for dirty dishes and I still get in trouble, for putting the wrong thing in wrong side of the sink at the wrong time.

Instead use a blanket or towel and make the blanket the object that the dog is getting on. You can get on the blanket, when it is on the floor, you can get on the blanket when it is on the couch, you can get on the blanket anytime. You can't get on the couch, you can't get on the table, you can't get on the counter. But you can always get on the blanket where ever it is. This is kind of like the "Clean / Dirty" sign on a dishwasher.

Example sign image

Sends a very clear message. As long as you are consistent about training!

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  • Blanket/towel is a good way, we did the same thing with our dog, it took some time for him to understand he can only get on the blanket, but after that he never jumped on the couch unless we allowed him to (by putting the blanket on).
    – ROAL
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 8:18

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