Counter surfing – how to thwart it

 

counter surfuing

Counter surfing is a common problem.  Do you have a dog that likes to steal things off of counters or tables?  Here are 2 refreshing solutions to this problem.

Solution 1

Have the dog on leash so it cannot access temptations that will be used on the counter at training time.

Hang food over the edge of the counter.  I start with  something easy to hang over the edge so the dog can see it, like a biscuit, but after a session or two I switch it up so that all sorts of food or objects are hanging off of the counter.

The dog will likely strain trying to get the food.  Ensure the leash is not long enough for this to happen.  Don’t say anything.  Wait for dog to give up trying, and reward the dog when:

it stops trying to get the food.

it looks at the food and then looks back to you.  

Eventually your dog won’t even look at the food. It will just wait patiently for its reward for ignoring the food.  It helps to work with very high value rewards when working on this.  

Solution 2

This second method is simple and straight forward.  It is based on the fact that the reason dogs look onto the counters is because that is where all the good stuff is.  

First thing in the morning measure the dog’s food.  When the dog is outside relieving its self, scatter a line of the food on the ground along the baseboard of the counters.  When the dog comes in, it will not take it long to find the food.  Each time the dog is outside, magically make its food (not treats, just the measured portion of its meal)) appear along the baseboard.  Before you know it the dog will be coming in and checking out the baseboard instead of the counters.

How long each of these will take to eliminate the problem

How many times you will have to do this varies significantly based on the dog and how many times they have successfully gotten items off the counter in the past. Even the worst dogs show improvement within few weeks with daily training sessions.  In the meantime, it will be incredibly important to keep counters clean at all times until the problem is resolved.

Otherwise you will walk-in to find this!  Oops!

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