Here is your guide on how to prevent your dog from counter surfing.
The habit of counter surfing is not only irritating because your dog might steal your food, but because it might be dangerous as well. What if your dog eats something harmful he is not supposed to eat? Hot food can also burn him, and don’t forget the glass that could break and cause cuts.
Now that you understand the gravity of the situation, you must curb this behavior as soon as it appears to avoid any unwanted pet visits.
Why do dogs counter surf?
Dogs do not jump on the counter just because they can, or just because you left them unwatched. The actual reason for this is something called ‘self-rewarding.’
1. Dog smells food.
2. Dog puts his paws on the counter.
3. Dog gets food. (Reward.)
If you were given $10 every time you sit in the same chair, you would probably do it over and over; this is the same with dogs. Once they have figured out how to reach the counter, they won’t stop as the rewards pay them very well.
Even if you punish your dog at the very same instant, usually the punishment does not outweigh the delicious reward.
How to stop it?
You can use ‘sticky tape’ on your counter, so that when your pup jumps on the counter he is met with deterrent stickiness. Usually, this is not very effective unless your dog is not strong-willed.
You can also buy a motion sensor noise maker, which releases loud noise if your dog surfs the counter. However, it is not recommended since it might cause your pup ear damage, and most dogs get used to the noise after a while.
Counter surfing is self-rewarding, so by not putting any food on the table, you are breaking the chain. If there is no reward, your dog will not bother. Always keep your food in the fridge and cupboards.
To stop your dog from counter surfing, you must train him to do an inconsistent, yet more rewarding behavior. Train your dog to go to a certain place, lie down on the floor, and stay until released, making sure he has gotten plenty of rewards in that position. Then, if you see your dog think about surfing, you can send them to their place.
Also, you can train your dog to keep away from the kitchen. However, it might be a difficult thing to do, but if you do it, it will be worth the troubles.