Keeping Paws off the Counter: The Secret to Ending Counter-Surfing
May 30th, 2023
You walk into your kitchen to find your dog with their paws up on the counter, the remains of what was once your dinner now scattered all around them. Does this scene feel all too familiar? If so, you're dealing with a counter-surfer. But don't fret – while counter-surfing can be a stubborn habit to break, with the right techniques, it's absolutely possible to teach your dog to keep their paws off your counters (and your food).
Why Do Dogs Counter-Surf?
Understanding why dogs counter-surf is the first step towards ending this behavior. In most cases, dogs counter-surf because it's rewarding – they find something tasty up there, and they get to eat it. But just because it's natural doesn't mean it's behavior we want to encourage.
Create a No-Go Zone
One way to stop your dog from counter-surfing is by creating a no-go zone in your kitchen. This means setting clear boundaries and enforcing them consistently. Each time your dog steps into the kitchen, gently guide them out and reward them for staying out.
Distract and Redirect
Another useful strategy is to distract your dog and redirect their attention. Whenever you see your dog attempting to counter-surf, distract them with a toy or a command. This not only stops the counter-surfing attempt but also redirects their energy to a more positive behavior.
Counter-surfing is not a sign of a disobedient dog, but a teachable moment for patient and consistent owners. With clear boundaries, positive reinforcement, and the right guidance, your kitchen can transform from a doggie buffet to a no-go zone.
Manage and Prevent
In the early stages of training, a key factor in tackling counter-surfing is active management of your dog's environment to prevent undesired behavior. This might mean blocking access to the kitchen when you're unable to supervise your dog directly. Baby gates or playpens can work well to set physical boundaries. If this isn't an option, consider crating your dog or using a playpen in another room when you can't be present.
Additionally, make sure food isn't left unattended on the counters or table, even for a moment. Your dog is opportunistic by nature, and if they learn that jumping up equals scoring tasty treats, they'll be much more likely to repeat the behavior. So, remove temptation by storing food out of reach or in cabinets when it's not being used.
Also, it's important to remember that prevention goes hand in hand with teaching alternative behaviors. It's not enough to prevent your dog from counter-surfing - we need to teach them what we'd like them to do instead. This might be settling on a mat or going to a specific spot in the kitchen where they're out of the way but still part of the action.
In our Counter-Surfing Cure course, we delve into these preventive measures in more detail and provide step-by-step guides to teaching your dog appropriate behavior around food. This approach helps your dog understand not just what they shouldn't do, but what they should do, making training more effective and your life a lot easier!
Remember that these measures are not intended to be long-term solutions, but rather short-term strategies to help manage your dog's behavior while you're working on training. With patience, consistency, and the right approach, you'll soon see progress. So, don't lose heart; your persistent pooch can learn to keep all four paws on the floor!
Counter-Surfing Cure: Taking Things to the Next Level
While these tips can help mitigate counter-surfing behavior, your dog may need additional guidance to completely kick the habit. That's where our Counter-Surfing Cure course comes in. This comprehensive digital course is designed to help you teach your dog not only to stop stealing food from the counters but also to not take food off the floor unless given permission. The Counter-Surfing Cure goes beyond treating symptoms, and instead, targets the root cause of counter-surfing, leading to a lasting solution.
The Power of Positive Reinforcement
In the Counter-Surfing Cure course, we rely heavily on the principles of positive reinforcement. We believe that rewarding good behavior is far more effective (and kind) than punishing bad behavior. We'll guide you through each step of the process, teaching you how to effectively use positive reinforcement techniques to address your dog's counter-surfing tendencies.
Counter-surfing can be a frustrating issue to deal with, but remember, your dog isn't doing this to annoy you. They're just following their natural instincts. With a little patience, persistence, and the right techniques, you can help your dog learn to respect your kitchen boundaries.
Remember, you don't have to navigate this journey alone. Our Counter-Surfing Cure course sells for $97. But you can access it for FREE when you test drive Canine Connect 360.
It not only comes with the Counter-Surfing Cure but loads of other content to help you each step along the way of your training journey. Weekly Masterclasses and 24/7 step-by-step support in our FB group and access to our AI Powered Chat Bot that's been trained in our philosophy and methods from 100's of hours worth of our past meetings. To learn more click the button below.
Jeff Feuerwerker is a seasoned dog trainer, media personality, and the innovative mind behind CIA Dog Training and Canine Connect 360. Celebrated for training America's Got Talent's first singing dog, Jeff is no stranger to the spotlight; he's been featured multiple times on TV news station WFMJ, sharing his expertise and love for canine education. With over 2 decades of hands-on experience, Jeff combines scientific techniques, humor, and a touch of showbiz sparkle to transform challenging behaviors into harmonious relationships. His insightful articles reflect his commitment to empowering pet parents and helping every dog reach their star potential. Whether it's navigating puppy blues or teaching an old dog new tricks, Jeff's relatable advice and inventive solutions make him a trusted resource in the dog training sphere. Off the stage and screen, he cherishes time spent with his own pack (dogs & humans).