How to Teach Your Dog Not to Counter Surfby Tammy Dray
Counter surfing is probably a lot more fun for Doggie than it is for you. After all, chances are he'll find something worthy and yummy on the counter. You, on the other hand, are likely to lose some of your groceries -- or even some valuable kitchen supplies -- in the process. If it's time to regain control over your counter, take heart; it's certainly possible with some proper training.
Remove the reasons the surfing is occurring in the first place. It's hard to convince Rover not to check the counter when you have all kinds of yummy stuff on there. Don't leave your groceries on the counter when you get home -- put them directly where they need to be, in the cupboards or the fridge. And don't think food is the only interesting thing -- he might be just as excited to steal other items, so don't keep anything near the edge of the counter within Rover's reach.
Say "no" every time he puts his paws on the counter. Even better, grab him and get him down and then say "stay." No guarantees that he won't jump right back up, so be ready to do it again and again. The one who gives up first loses, so make sure that's Rover and not you.
Get Rover used to only getting food in his bowl. Don't share bits and pieces while you're cooking -- that only reinforces the idea that there's yummy stuff on the counter. Feed him everything in his bowl -- food, snacks, even bones -- unless you're giving out treats during training. When doing that, make sure you're not in the kitchen to prevent the association.
Booby-trap the counter. You don't want to hurt Doggie in the process, so don't use heavy pots or trays. Instead, go for shock value. A can full of coins or a plastic bowl full of water will provide the right scare without injury. If Rover associates the counter with nasty surprises, he's not likely to go checking for goodies again.
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