Teaching basic commands is an excellent way to create clear communication and to bond with your dog.
How to teach “Off”
If you find your dog on the couch, the bed, etc. – tell him “Off”, and then encourage him to get down and come to you.
When he comes, reward your dog with praise, get excited – crazy excited. In fact the more excited you are the more they will know how happy they made you and want to do it again. A friend of mine who trains the NSW Fire Dog to find the point of origin of a fire, explained how at times it can be really embarrassing and the worse timing ever. When Phil turns up to a fire the mood is solemn but when Elli the fire dog finds where the fire started Phil must jump up and down making a huge fuss of her and pulling out her favourite toy for a tug of war – yep right there an then so she understands exactly what she did that was good.
At first the reward maybe food but not too much as you don’t want an obesity problem. Smelly foods are often best such as liver, salmon or a smelly cheese as long as your dog isn’t lactose intolerant (which is rare for dogs, but possible). Choose lower-fat options like mozzarella
If your dog won’t get off the item, physically remove him and then tell him “Off” in a stern voice.
Consistency is all-important here. If one member of the family turns a blind eye to the house rules, you’ve had it your dog won’t obey you or at least its much much harder to train them!
AND don’t laugh, it may be funny, they may be cute especially when puppies but laughing is as good as praise and you’re rewarding them for the wrong behaviour. Once this is engrained it’s very hard to change the learned incorrect behaviour
If your dog growls at you for attempting to remove him, back off and seek the help of a dog trainer, this is not OK behaviour and never treat it as cute or funny particularly with puppies because it won’t be when they get bigger and possibly bite someone or are just unruly. You may also speak to your vet who can advise you on dog trainers or qualified behaviourist in your area. You want to seek help as soon as possible, and don’t try to dabble with any aggression problems yourself, as you may make things worse.