Counter-surfing isn’t a household term many know. It’s something most households have experienced though. By counter-surfing, you are someone who sits on the dining room table and nose dives inside the kitchen to get a few handy snacks that are being kept under high heat.
If there can be any consolation in this behaviour, it is how the experience teaches your dog how to be an obedient dog. But for those of us who don’t really want to be bothered by this behaviour, we need to figure out how to stop dogs from counter surfing when not home.
- Do not put items on the counter where dogs can reach.
- Make sure the meter/counter is cleaned.
- Don’t feed from the counter .
- If there is food on the table, accommodate the dog.
- You can spray the chew guard on the counter.
What is Counter Surfing?
Counter surfing is the term for when a dog snatches something that is not meant for them to have, such as food or money. Dogs may counter surf because they are bored, anxious, or territorial.
It is important to remember that even if your dog doesn’t usually counter surf, it might start doing so when cornered or frustrated. If you see your dog grabbing something off the counter, be prepared to reprimand them and/or remove whatever they are trying to grab.
Why Should I Stop My Dog From Counter Surfing?
There are a few reasons why it is important to stop your dog from counter surfing:
- If your dog is caught stealing something off the counter, this can be seen as dishonorable and embarrassing.
- If your dog starts to routinely steal things off the counter, this could lead to problems when you are out and about since counters are often an easy target for theft.
- Food that falls off of counters can become contaminated with bacteria which can cause your dog serious health problems.
- If your dog starts to steal things from other people’s homes, this could lead to trouble down the road.
Why Does My Dog Counter Surf?
There are a few reasons why your dog might start to counter surf:
- Dogs may become bored easily and may look for ways to entertain themselves.
- Some dogs may be anxious or territorial and want to assert their dominance over other animals or people in the area.
- If your dog is not properly trained, there could be instances where they feel frustrated when prevented from accessing items that they deem as theirs.
If you see your dog starting to counter surf, be prepared to stop them and/or reprimand them.
Training your dog to not jump up on counters in search of food is all about:
1. Showing your dog that food can be found elsewhere, preferably on a designated feeding spot such as their regular resting place (nearby cushion or bed). Counter surfing will become less frequent and eventually stop altogether when your dog understands this rule.
2. Displaying intense body language when you catch your dog committing the counter surf offense – take a deep breath before speaking in an authoritative voice, put yourself between the animal and the object and make eye contact. Always maintain a calm demeanor.
3. Reward your dog when they obey; this could involve giving them their favourite treat or scratching their back (depending on the individual dog).
Preventing Counter Surfing:
There are a few key things that you can do in order to help prevent your dog from starting to counter surf.
First, make sure they have plenty of physical and mental stimulation – this means providing them with adequate exercise and playtime around the house, as well as opportunities for human/dog interaction outside of feeding time.
Secondly, be consistent with your rules – dogs understand best when their environment is predictable and stable.
Finally, provide housing (i.e., a designated spot on the counter where your dog can’t reach) for some of their favourite treats in order to reinforce that this behaviour is not acceptable.
Training Incompatible Behaviors:
When your dog exhibits an incompatible behaviour such as counter surfing, it can be difficult to address the issue without also addressing the underlying motivators.
This is because counter surfing often stems from a lack of positive reinforcement or attention in other aspects of the dog’s life – if you’re able to resolve those issues, then your dog will likely stop engaging in this undesirable behaviour as well.
There are a few things that you can do in order to help promote positive reinforcement in your dog’s life.
First, be consistent with rules and boundaries – this will help to ensure that your dog understands what is expected of them.
Secondly, provide plenty of physical and mental stimulation – this will help to prevent boredom from setting in and lead to more enjoyable behaviour overall.
Finally, praise your dog often when they exhibit positive behaviour – this will encourage them as well as reinforce good habits.
What is proofing a dog’s behaviour?
Proofing is a technique used to prevent or stop undesired behaviours in dogs. It involves providing positive reinforcement for desired behaviour while removing or reducing punishment/negative consequences for undesired behaviour.
One of the most important things to remember when proofing your dog’s behaviour is that you must be consistent – if you provide positive reinforcement only intermittently, then the dog will eventually learn that undesirable behaviour is rewarded.
Additionally, be sure to give your dog positive reinforcement for good behaviour as well as bad – this will help to reinforce good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour.
Finally, be sure to praise your dog when they exhibit desired behaviours – this will encourage them and also reinforce the learning process.
If you can successfully resolve any issues that are causing your dog to engage in undesirable behaviour, then this behaviour should likely stop. There are a few things that you can do in order to help promote positive reinforcement in your dog’s life, and providing plenty of physical and mental stimulation is one of the most important aspects. Additionally, be sure to praise your dog when they exhibit desired behaviours – this will encourage them as well as reinforce good habits.