Do You Have a Counter Thief in Your Midst?!
We’ve all heard of a dog who steals things off of a counter! You leave your sandwich on the kitchen counter and go to another room. When you return, the sandwich has mysteriously disappeared. The rules that apply to counter surfing also apply to table surfers.
If you know your dog is a “surfer,” or you want to take steps to prevent your dog from becoming one, ensure that your counters are clear of anything that may be enticing to your pup. If your dog doesn’t find anything when they surf, there is no reward, and the behavior should subside.
Here are a handful of tips on how to prevent your pup from getting up on things he shouldn’t!
- Teach your dog a reliable “Leave it” cue. Practice consistently with your dog on a variety of surfaces, including counters and tables. Be sure to reward with tasty treats when your dog successfully leaves objects on the counter!
- Teach your dog a reliable “off” cue. Practice cuing your dog off of a variety of surfaces like furniture, tables, and, most importantly for counter surfers, the counter!
- Teach your dog a reliable “Place” cue. “Place” teaches your pup to lie down on a specific mat or blanket until you release them. It’s a great way to redirect your dog if you see them getting interested in what’s on counter, as your dog can’t counter surf if they’re in bed! They will learn that they get better things in their place than from the counter.
- Remember that counter surfing is a “Life Reward”. This means that the completion of the behavior itself is a reward. When your dog jumps on the counter and successfully gets the loaf of bread or cupcake, they learn it gets them exactly what they wanted, which will result in repeating that behavior more often!
- Counter surfing can become a serious safety issue if not managed. If you are having trouble working with your dog on these behaviors, be sure to work with a certified trainer.