Why do dogs love to hang out on the couch? We all have our pet theories - I think it's because the couch is comfortable, it's high up, it offers a great look-out point to see the world outside the living room window, and you're there... In other words, dogs just like the couch.
It's absolutely fine if you allow your dog to lounge on the couch, with or without you. Sometimes, though, we don't want Rufus on the furniture. If this sounds like you, and you're ready to make some changes, read on.
The easiest way to get Rufus off the couch is to buy him a comfortable dog bed and put it close to the couch. Every day, lure him onto the bed, then reward him with a nice stuffed dog toy or rawhide to chew on. Whenever he volunteers to get on his bed, make the effort to give him a nice treat or go over and pat him for a few minutes, if he's the type to enjoy a belly rub. Over time, he'll orient more and more to his bed.
It can also help to keep the blinds closed so the couch isn't as attractive as a look-out, or to re-arrange the furniture.
If you secretly enjoy having him on the couch but don't want him there when the mother-in-law arrives, you can keep him in the back room with a nice stuffed dog toy when she's around. You can even train him to lay down in his own spot when guests are around, if you enjoy training (a good positive dog class or a private trainer can help with this one). Keeping Rufus clean and brushed will help to reduce his shedding, and certain couch materials, those that are smooth, are easier to keep clean.
If you punish Rufus when you find him on the couch, he will likely learn that it's only safe to snooze there when you're not around. Hey... That's not what we're looking for! This isn't because he's evil, it's just how their very smart doggie brains work. That's why meeting his need for a comfortable lounging spot with another bed is the best way to go.