One of the worst habits that some larger dogs develop is called counter surfing. Picture this. You’ve just prepared a stunning Christmas dinner for the family, but you suddenly have to walk away and leave it on the counter to answer the door as new guests arrive. As soon as you leave, your dog jumps up to the counter and starts feasting away on all of your hard work. When you finally get back to the kitchen, your meal is a mess, and you are forced to order takeout for your house full of friends and family. If this scenario is all too common in your household, it’s time to take action and stop this problem behavior before it gets out of hand. Here are eight ways to stop your dog’s counter surfing this Christmas
One way you can ensure that your Christmas dinner stays safe away from your dog’s mouth is to keep him secluded during holiday parties and gatherings. A dog that is struggling with controlling his hungry impulses may be put to the test when your home is full of strangers and people unfamiliar with a counter surfing dog. Instead, try keeping your dog in a quiet part of the house that is away from all of the excitement and tasty treats. Set his safe room up with a Comfortable Dog Bed , some dog food and plenty of water. If you are afraid he’ll get lonely or bark, offer him a treat when he settles down in his space and turn the television on for some welcome background noise to keep him company.
Another way you can keep your dog from jumping up on the counter during important holiday events is through distraction. Keep him occupied with another fun activity during the preparation of your holiday meal. Assign dog play duty to a few of your guests who enjoy spending time with your dog, and have them take your pup out for a relaxing walk or a fun game of fetch. Eventually, he may be worn out when he finally comes back inside and too tired to go snooping around the kitchen for food.
Another way you can tackle this annoying problem is to focus on retraining your dog a few months before the big gathering. Use Clicker Training Accessories to condition your dog to ignore tasty morsels left on top of your kitchen counter. Take plenty of time to practice keeping your dog calm and still if something is left on the counter. Be patient during the process so you can get to the point where you’re comfortable leaving him out in your home during holiday gatherings and parties.
Try rewarding him for good behavior. Practice keeping him leashed while there is a tempting treat on the counter. Offer him verbal praise, warm ear scratches and his own Dog Treats as he continues to behave and refrain from jumping on the counter.
Next, if rewarding him isn’t doing the trick, you may want to try ignoring him. Some dogs engage in counter surfing to get attention from their owners. Even the negative attention of scolding can be something rewarding for some dogs. For this method, watch your dog when he jumps on the counter. If he’s looking at you for a reaction, then simply turn your body away from him and ignore him for a period of time after he’s jumped up. Eventually, he may get the hint that jumping on the counter means no attention from you.
For some pups, the best way to get them to stop counter surfing is through special deterrents. This method may take a few weeks of work for it to really be effective, so be sure to plan ahead months in advance of the holidays. Start by setting up a plate of food that your dog typically jumps up to steal. Then use a Dog Spray Deterrent product to coat the food in a bitter and unappealing taste. When he jumps up and begins eating the food, he should immediately spit it out because of the terrible taste. If you do this a few times, eventually he will begin to avoid the area and focus his attention on something else.
The last way to keep your dog away from the kitchen counter is to use dog behavior management strategies. Start by teaching him to only seek food from the floor. Train him to go to a specific area in your home when you’re not in the kitchen, such as his dog bed or his crate. Teach him to sit quietly and patiently if he wants a special treat. Essentially, you want to help mold your pup into a good doggie citizen who won’t be a problem when temptation on the counter catches his eye. This method may require a formal training class or extra help from a dog obedience specialist.
Your dog’s counter surfing habits don’t have to ruin your family’s Christmas dinner this year. If you are struggling to get your dog to behave and stay away from the counter, try some of these helpful ways to keep him from stealing your holiday foods. This way, you, your family and your dog can continue to enjoy the Christmas season together peacefully!