When my Dachshund Gretel was diagnosed with IVDD, we had to make some major changes around the house.
Specifically, we needed to prevent her from jumping off the couch.
In my mind, there were only two ways to do that:
- Completely prevent her from getting on the couch in the first place.
- Make it so the only way on and off the couch was a ramp.
Since our Dachshunds love laying on the couch, and completely blocking off the couch was impractical, I went for option 2.
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The Setup That Has Kept Our Dachshunds From Jumping Off the Couch
So, after some trial and error, this is the system I ended up with.
We put the couch against the wall and completely gated it off so the only way on and off the couch was the ramp.
This are the products we use to prevent our Dachshunds from jumping off the couch:
- Tall, adjustable, 4-panel wood dog gate on the left side of the couch
- Tall, sliding, free-standing pet gate along the front so we can slide it to one side when needed to access the couch
- Snoozer scalloped pet ramp to provide them a safe way on and off the couch (we got the medium so the back was the same height as the seat of the couch).
- Pillows to help block off the right side of the couch and guide them to the ramp.
Questions I’ve Recieved About Our Little Setup
Why don’t you just train them to use the ramp?
Oh, I have. Without any training, they probably wouldn’t feel comfortable using the ramp.
However, trusting that their training would result in them using the ramp every time, if they were not physically forced to do so, was not reasonable.
I may have thought worked all the time. Or hoped it worked all the time. But, unless I was watching them all the time, I would never know for sure.
Even while I was watching them, there were a couple times they got over-excited, forgot their training, and jumped off the couch.
Actually, that is when Gretel’s first back injury occurred.
I don’t feel comfortable leaving it up to chance anymore so I developed this gate system.
Couldn’t they, technically, jump off the couch anyway?
Yes, I suppose they could.
They like to take the path of least resistance though so they almost always just go for the ramp.
A couple times they have put their feet up on the arm on the un-gated, plant side of the couch and looked like they might try to jump off.
I don’t think I can absolutely guarantee my Dachshunds will never jump off the couch or furniture unless we don’t have any.
That’s why we always have the pillows there. It’s helps create a wall to guide them to the ramp.
Also, we try to avoid standing on that side of the couch when they are excited to greet us. That’s the only times they have been precariously close to jumping off.
Is that all you do to stop them from jumping off the couch?
Yes. Well, primarily.
They are trained to understand the command “wait”. When I say this command, they know to stay where they are (wherever that is) until I say.
That means that during the rare times when the gates are not around the couch – like when we have guests, are cleaning, etc. – I can use that command to keep them from jumping off.
I then lower them off the couch myself.
However, this does mean I have to watch them every second so I can reinforce the no jumping rule with the command.
Our couch pulls out into a bed so when guests sleep over it is impossible to keep the couch blocked off and to constantly supervise them.
In those very, very rare cases, I use the gates to block the livingroom off completely so our Dachshunds can’t even to in there.
Isn’t it annoying having your couch blocked off?
I admit our setup is not ideal for the my hubby and I.
We’re willing to do what we have to to keep our Dachshunds – our kids really – safe though. That’s our #1 priority over all else.
Blocking our couch is not ideal but having my Dachshund Gretel hurt her back again from jumping off is even less desirable.
It is a bit unsightly and inconvenient but my Dachshund Gretel hurting her back again from jumping off is way less convenient and desirable.
We’ve gotten used to it, and don’t entertain guests a lot, so having a fence around the couch is is not a huge deal.
It’s just a mild inconvenience over having no fence around the couch.
What about our other furniture and bed?
We live in a very small house now so we don’t have much furniture besides the bed and couch.
I have an office chair and I turn it to face the wall when I’m not using it so they can’t jump up onto it.
We decided to lower the height of our bed, rather than worry about our Dachshunds jumping off or not letting them sleep with us anymore.
I initially looked into a platform bed but, ultimately, I decided it was cheaper to put the mattress and boxspring on the floor so the overall height of the bed is under 18 inches tall.
For the rest of our furniture, like the dining room table, we make sure they can’t get up there by pushing the chairs in every time and/or blocking access by setting things on them like pillows.
Yep, I’m a middle-aged Dachshund owner who sleeps with my mattress on the floor like a college student to help keep my dogs safe.
As you can tell, our house is pretty much set up with the dogs in mind.
What if I don’t want to block my couch off like you did?
You don’t have to. This is just what works for us.
As a responsible Dachshund owner, it’s up to you to assess the risk, decide what you are comfortable with, and choose what works for you.
However, if you want to make sure your Dachshund doesn’t jump off the couch at any time – when they are amped up, when you’re not present, etc. – then you are back to option #1 in my opinion – you’ll have to keep your Dachshund off the couch.
Otherwise, like I said above, you can’t guarantee they will always choose to use the stairs or ramp.
The exception to always having to keep your dog off the couch is if you are on the couch with them.
I suggest closely watching them and/or keeping one hand on your dog and making sure there is a command you can use to keep them from jumping off the couch long enough for you to help them.
You can prevent your Dachshund from accessing the couch by:
- Preventing access to the room by closing the door or using a pet gate
- Discouraging your dog from trying to jump on the couch by placing something on the seat like the Couch Defender.
If, like my Dachshunds, yours love to snuggle on the couch under blankets, and you prevent them from doing that, try to give them another soft, cozy spot to lay in the room.
This will help make something else in the room seem more desirable to lie on than the couch.