But now, our current house has three floors; it’s much more difficult to keep track of the dogs. Jujube can easily scamper down to the basement and pee right in front of the door if you aren’t at her heels. It’s much easier to lose track of where Loki is; I find myself searching for him all the time. Even if we were to close all the doors inside our home, the main floor has a lot of open space. It’s easy to lose track of where they are and what they are doing.
Dogs like to be near people. In our case, Jujube clings to us. She’s always in the same room as us, if not within five feet of us. And although Loki is more aloof, for the majority of the time, he prefers to be at least on the same floor as us.
This brings us to the problem of the couch, which is on the main floor. Loki thinks that he owns the couch; it’s his primary lounging spot. One of our earlier dog fights was over the couch. Loki was on the couch. When Jujube jumped on, Loki went for her. Since then they have been able to share the couch peacefully, but the dog behaviorist advised us to keep all dogs off the couch and bed. Such elevated places are privileges for well-behaved dogs, not rights. And even though we weren’t having specific issues with the couch anymore, keeping them off the couch and bed may help with other behavior issues.
“Does Loki have his own space?” the behaviorist asked.Hm, I guess that makes sense; we can try that. In the past, Loki always had his exercise pen as his personal space. We don’t use it anymore. The main floor is hardwood and we’re afraid the metal pen might scratch it up. It’s also a bit of an eyesore. He has his crate, but that’s now upstairs. He hardly uses his crate for lounging anyways. In any case, it’s hardly fair to ask Loki to remain on one floor while we are on another. So he needs his own space on every floor. This turns out not to be a problem on either upstairs or in the basement. But on the main floor, he always lounges on the couch. If we don’t want him on the couch, then we need to give him an alternative. He has to be directed somewhere.
“Well, yeah, he has his crate upstairs,” I replied.
“But on this floor?”
“No, not on this floor, but why does that matter?”
“Well, if you don’t want him on the couch and you don’t want him under the piano, he has to go somewhere. He needs a place of his own on this floor. Why don’t you get him a dog bed?”
For every behavior that you don’t want your dog to do, you need to provide a viable alternative. For example, if you don’t want him digging in your flower bed, then you should provide an area where it’s acceptable to dig. (A tip from the Dogster boards: You can try a sandbox filled with real dirt and bury treats there to lure your dog there.) If you don’t want your dog chewing on your slippers, then you should provide acceptable chew toys. For us, if we don’t want him on the couch, then we need to redirect him to an acceptable spot.