Darf mein Hund auf das Sofa oder das Bett?

Can my dog go on the sofa or bed?

Can my dog go on the sofa or bed?

The topic of whether your dog is allowed on the sofa or bed creates a lot of helplessness. Sometimes dog people are discouraged because the dog becomes "dominant." Tips on the topic "You have to be the boss" are circulating through the internet. All nonsense. The dominance theory is an outdated picture of the dog-human relationship and has since been disproved. 

You can decide for yourself whether you want to give your dog a place next to you. If you don't want your dog to take up a seat on the sofa or in bed, that's legitimate and okay. If you allow your dog to sit on the sofa or bed, there are conditions. 

The relationship between you and your dog will not be compromised on the sofa or bed as long as it is solid beforehand. If a discussion begins on the sofa or bed, a basis for discussion has been laid beforehand. That means a sofa doesn't destroy your upbringing, your dog doesn't take you seriously anymore, or he's taken over the world. If there is a set starting point in your relationship where you can easily forbid your dog things that you allow him, then the sofa or bed shouldn't be a problem for the time being. Nevertheless, there are character traits or behaviors in dogs that make a clear ban on sofas and beds sensible.

The decision as to whether your dog is allowed to cuddle on your berth is a personal decision with prerequisites. 

Whether your dog is allowed on the bed or sofa depends on factors that we will explain to you. As always, there is no clear yes or no answer. The answer is: It depends on whether…

Why dogs like the sofa and our bed

There are many characteristics in your dog that speak in favor of the sofa or bed. As a rule, the sofa or bed is much more comfortable than the dog bed. Your dog will notice the quality equally. Because you're likely to spend a lot of time in bed or on the sofa at home, these two places are where your dog can be especially close to you. On the one hand, this can be social and bonding. On the other hand, the constant presence around you can lead to paranoia and thus stress.


In our bed or on our sofa we hold people and a lot up. The comfort of the sofa and bed is important to us and the decisive purchasing decision. No wonder our dog likes the sofa or couch for the same reason we do - both are comfortable. 

Check your dog's dog bed: 

  • Does your dog prefer soft or hard dog beds? 
  • Which material does your dog prefer to lie on?
  • If your dog could choose, what shape would his dog bed be? 
  • Where is the dog bed placed? 


It's okay for your dog not to like everything he gets. The dog bed you have chosen is not necessarily the dog bed your dog needs. Our dogs deserve comfort, so we recommend you buy 1-2 need-based dog beds instead of 3-4 to match your decor. 

By offering your dog two dog beds, you are accommodating their ego needs and offering your dog a choice. Both are essential building blocks of your dog's basic needs. 


Contact beds – oxytocin

Dogs want to be close to us. It doesn't matter whether they are snuggled very close to us or lie at a distance. Contact lying is when dog and animal or dog and human lie close together. When lying in contact, physical contact can occur, but does not have to. Bonding hormones are released during contact. Among other things, the so-called cuddle hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin builds an intimate bond between you and your dog and creates togetherness. In addition, oxytocin reduces stress and anxiety in you and your dog. 

Contact lying on the sofa or bed is ideal because it allows you and your dog to lie comfortably.

Possible parenting problems with the sofa or bed

If you want to offer your dog a place next to you on the sofa or bed, you have to watch your dog. Behaviors that are highly territorial, associated with stress, or are conquering should result in your dog being off the couch altogether. 


Dogs love places where they have a good view of things. Perspectives include sofa, bed, front door, window, etc. Perspectives make strategic sense for your dog to exercise their natural territorial behavior. For you as a dog owner, increased territorial behavior requires action. 

Viewing spots do not offer your dog relaxation, but allow your dog to be constantly in work mode. The more your dog "works" from his vantage point, the higher his stress level. 

If your dog is the type of dog that exhibits strong territorial behavior, vantage points like the sofa and bed are off limits. 


nice to know - Territorium

A territory is a limited area that your dog and his family (you and your peers) inhabit. The territory is walked regularly. You can think of it like a kind of patrol. Your dog regularly marks its territory by barking, defecating, urinating, pawing, growling, or barking. And finally, your dog is defending its territory.  

Territorial behavior is completely natural behavior of your dog. However, reinforcing territorial behavior with a sofa or bed is pointless and unnecessary. The workload of exploring, tagging, guarding, and defending increases your dog's stress levels, which in turn leads to health problems.  

Territory is important to your dog because:

  • it is the location of a food source
  • it has secure social contacts,
  • it generally minimizes the dangers and thus offers security. 

Stalking / delusions of persecution

Having a healthy relationship with your dog is an essential starting point in dog training. Healthy means your dog doesn't feel the urge to follow you around. Canine delusions of persecution may seem cute at first, but it is a serious problem. 

Start a test: Stay in a room with your dog. You are sitting on the sofa, your dog is lying in his dog place. As soon as you get up and go to the bathroom, what does your dog do? is he following you Or does he stay put? As soon as your dog follows you, this is a sign for you that your dog is not relaxing. Paranoia leads to constant stress. Stress that you increase from the sofa or bed. If your dog is constantly chasing you, you should set boundaries and put some distance between you and your dog. You create the first limit by no longer allowing the sofa or bed as a place for your dog to sleep. In further training steps, you must gradually break down the pursuit of boundaries such as a locked door or ceiling training.

engaging behavior

Unlike humans, dogs communicate mostly non-verbally. Body language is to your dog what words are to humans. Your dog's communication also includes room management. Space is a resource for our dogs that needs to be managed by you as a human. Dogs react very sensitively to spatial boundaries. Your task is to allocate the resource space or, if necessary, to deny it. 

Does your dog jump straight to the door as soon as the doorbell rings? He then takes up your space as you walk towards the door. Does your dog get in the way in the middle of the apartment? Then he takes your space. 

Your dog's engaging behavior must be discouraged by assigning the space. This also includes the sofa and bed. It is best to use a house leash and clearly assign your dog its place. Forbid the sofa and bed for the time being, use the leash as an aid and show your dog where its space and lying area is. 


Actively release sofa and bed

It makes sense to classify your dog's behavior according to the traffic light system. The traffic light system allows you to communicate clearly and fairly with your dog. 

  • Green = Allowed until I forbid it
  • Orange = Banned until i allow it
  • Rot = Always forbidden
When you think of a traffic light, you know that you are absolutely not allowed to drive when it is red and that you may have to reckon with a penalty if you do. Although caution is advised when driving in orange, it is not completely forbidden to drive through orange at the traffic light. If it's green, you're free to drive. Just like the traffic light system in road traffic, you can imagine the traffic light system in dog training. 
Divide the sofa and bed into the traffic light system. If your dog is highly territorial, chasing you a lot, or acting affectionate, the sofa or bed will be red until further notice and is therefore always off-limits until the behavior changes. If your dog shows none of the dangers mentioned, you can classify the sofa or bed as green or orange. 
  • Rot: Is a taboo and is never allowed. Neither at home nor outside. In your inner attitude, this behavior must feel like your dog running onto a freeway, i.e. red alert. Your dog is not allowed on the sofa or bed and is consistently sent down every time. There are no exceptions. 
  • Orange: Behavior that your dog is only allowed to do if you explicitly allow it is most of your dog's behavior. Your dog must not beg to be allowed on the sofa or bed. You may invite your dog on the sofa or bed if you feel like it. Give your dog a clear signal like “Hop!” or "come up".  Try to actively bring in phases again and again during which your dog is not allowed up on the sofa or bed for a longer period of time in order to keep his expectations low and not to cause too much frustration.
  • Green: Anything that doesn't require your separate permission or clearance counts as conduct that's allowed until you forbid it. We personally do not recommend allowing your dog unrestricted access to the sofa or bed. The reason for this is the expectation of your dog and the space management that is due to you as a human. You can use tools so that you can clearly communicate to your dog when he can go on the sofa or bed. You can put a cuddly blanket on it as soon as you want to allow your dog on the bed or on the sofa. Your dog will understand when he can come to you and when not. The blanket is a release without you having to ban, release or correct it first and thus a nicer communication.
You can download the free traffic light system if you are registered with us in the member area. This is completely non-binding and you will not incur any costs.