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  • Writer's pictureJeff Causby, CTDI, ABCDT

10 Expert Tips to Stop Counter Surfing

Counter Surfing....if you've ever experienced the frustration of discovering your dog have stolen something off of your counter, you're not alone. Counter surfing is a very common problem behavior in dogs, but with a few training tricks, that will help you stop counter surfing.

Here are 10 Expert tips to stop counter surfing:


1. Teach "Place": Teach your dog a place cue, this cue designates a specific spot where they can comfortably settle and observe. By teaching this you are minimizing the likelihood of them getting in the way or succumbing to the temptation of jumping on the counters.


2. Establish Kitchen Boundaries: Guide your dog to respect boundaries in the kitchen through positive reinforcement, establishing a clear understanding that this space is off-limits. By doing so, you'll not only create a defined boundary but also effectively deter counter surfing behaviors.


3. Master the "Leave It" Cue: Train your dog to respond to a "Leave It" cue. This cue comes in handy when your pup is eyeing something on the counter, redirecting their attention elsewhere.


4. Teach an Exit Cue: Develop a cue that signals your dog to exit a room. This can be particularly useful in preventing them from wandering into the kitchen when you're preparing meals.


5. Keep Counters Clear: Eliminate all temptations and potential food reinforcements by ensuring that counters remain clear of any food items. After meals, promptly clean up to eliminate lingering scents that might otherwise attract your dog to the counter.


6. Reward for Good Behavior: Reward your dog with a treat when they resist the urge to jump on the counter. Positive reinforcement reinforces the idea that staying on the ground is a more rewarding choice.


7. Use Confinement Wisely: If your dog persists in counter surfing while you're cooking or preparing food, consider utilizing a crate or confining them to a room with baby gates. This proactive measure prevents them from practicing the counter surfing behavior and reinforces positive habits.


8. No Punishment: Steer clear of punishing your dog for counter surfing, as this approach may inadvertently reinforce the behavior or cause fear. Opt for a positive approach by redirecting their behavior through reinforcement and effective training techniques.


9. Limit Access to the Room: If counter surfing is a recurring issue, limit your dog's access to the room or area where they tend to misbehave when you're not around. You can do so by using baby gates or closing doors.


10. Withhold Attention: Refrain from offering any form of attention to your dog for counter surfing, whether through talking or touching. Any attention given can unintentionally reinforce the behavior, making it crucial to redirect their focus positively instead.


By incorporating these tips into your training routine, you can stop counter surfing and guide your dog towards more appropriate behavior. Remember, consistency is key, and with patience and positive reinforcement, you'll soon find your furry friend keeping all four paws firmly on the ground.

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