It’s Friday night and after a long work week you decide to grill a delicious steak for yourself. As you go the fridge to get a drink, your mischievous pup jumps up and helps himself to your hard earned dinner. Is this a common scenario in your home?
We have heard it all: the Jack Russell that bounds onto the kitchen counters the second you walk out the door to help herself to all that can be found on the counter to the Beagle that jumps onto the kitchen table to snatch everyone’s lunch. If your dog “counter surfs”, meaning jumps up to steal food or objects from counter and table tops then we have the download on training tips to stop this unwanted behavior.
Management. Keeping your dog from the kitchen is the most simple, efficient method to preventing your dog from learning this horrible behavior. Use doggy gates to section off the kitchen from your dog. If that is not possible, use dog tethers to secure your dog whenever you prepare a meal. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to work on the place command. Give your dog a delicious treat, tether your dog to a short, un-chewable leash on top of a comfy dog bed and your dog will learn that cooking time means “go- to- bed -and -have -a –treat- time”. Your dog will look forward to the time you spend in the kitchen and instead of focusing on what he is going to steal; he will immediately go to his pillow to chew on his favorite bone.
Also, don’t give your dog too much freedom as a pup. He has to earn the right and mature into having full reign of the house. If your dog is young and still learning, he should not be left alone in the home without supervision. Use a crate when you leave, or secure him in a puppy proofed room, or if you will be gone a long time use a dog run outside.
Finally, don’t leave the temptation to start with. Be mindful of what you are leaving out on the counter tops when your dog is unsupervised. Secure any tempting objects before you leave the room or house for the day.
Booby Traps. If your dog is older and reliable to be left alone in the home all day, but still has this one terrible habit, then use a booby trap. A great way to correct your dog for counter surfing is to use a Scat Mat. Safe, effective training mats keep pets out of prohibited areas such as furniture, window sills, or counter tops. Use Mat Jr. to emit a mild, but uncomfortable static charge, letting your pet know the area is off limits. If your dog is like the Jack Russell Terrier that simply enjoys jumping up and walking around (like a cat) on your countertops, the Mat Jr. would be the best tool to use to teach your dog that this is an undesirable behavior.
Another effective tool is the Ssscat Spray by Innotek. SSSCAT Spray senses your dog within 1 meter, and then emits a startling, deterring spray. The spray is an odorless, non-staining gas, harmless to pets and people.
Tattle Tale is another great product that works by sensing vibration on the surface and startles your dog by setting off a two-second alarm.
Follow these training tips and you won’t have to share your delicious steak dinners with your dog on Friday nights anymore!