Does your dog often steal food from your table or kitchen counters? If so, you have a case of counter-surfing at your hands. When left alone, this bad habit makes no food safe from your sneaky canine every time you turn your back. Eliminate this behavior through dog training near Leesburg, VA, and these simple but effective management tips.
What is Counter Surfing?
Counter surfing can be traced back to canine ancestors, who had to scavenge food regularly to survive. Counter surfing happens when a dog tends to steal unattended food. While it usually occurs on kitchen counters, it can also take place on the dining room table, coffee table, and any other surface where food is often placed. When successful, dogs will repeat this behavior.
Apart from the irritation of losing your meal, counter surfing can also be dangerous to your dog. If he eats something inedible or poisonous, the results can be tragic. Thus, it is important to enroll your pooch in expert Hamilton dog training to correct this behavior.
Steps to Correct Counter Surfing
Many owners attempt to stop counter surfing by ‘punishing’ their dog. However, it is not the best approach to change this behavior. Punishment can damage your relationship with your pup and does not teach them what you want them to do instead. To effectively stop counter surfing, you need to manage your pup and teach them an alternative behavior. Follow these steps:
1. Do not leave out food.
Get rid of the temptations that drive your canine to counter surf. Clear your tables, counters, and other surfaces of food and all enticing items. Place edibles on high shelves, cupboards, the microwave, the oven, or the refrigerator. Clean spills and bits of food immediately.
2. Rearrange your furniture.
Arrange your chairs, tables, and sofas in such a way that surfaces are inaccessible to your pooch’s reach. Some dogs are clever enough that they manage to reposition furniture to reach their goals, so make sure your furnishings are securely in place.
3. Prevent your dog’s access to the counters and table.
Keeping your pup from practicing unwanted behaviors is key to successfully changing unwanted behavior to more desirable behavior. The key to preventing your dog from counter-surfing is eliminating their ability to access the counters or table unattended. Use exercise pens, door gates and/or a leash if you are unable to properly supervise your dog.
4. Reward your pet’s polite behaviors.
Every time you spot your dog with all paws on the floor around the counter/table make sure to reward him with a small snack away from the counter/table. Be consistent with this practice. Through professional Leesburg dog training and persistent efforts, the likelihood of your canine raiding the counter will significantly diminish.
5. Teach your pet to “go to the mat.”
Set up a mat positioned far from the counter and teach your canine to go there whenever there is food in the room. By tossing treats for him on the mat keeping him busy and away from the counter/table. The mat will quickly become the place where good things happen and your pup will begin positioning himself on the mat instead of surfing the counters or table.
Stop Counter Surfing Once and for All!
The earlier you start training your dog to stop counter surfing and the more persistent you are with management, the easier it will be to control your dog’s behavior.
Hearts in Harmony offers dog-group classes, specialty classes, private sessions, and more to help pet owners and animal professionals alike. Call us now at 540-454-4098 to register for dog training near Leesburg, VA.