Correcting Your Counter Surfing K-9

How many times have you walked away from making dinner for a quick minute only to return to find your precious pup licking your steak?  In my house, the dogs used to steal sweet potatoes off the counter before they were put away from the grocery store!  But, don’t worry, with a little time and training, this behavior can be remedied.

To stop your dog’s counter surfing behavior, you will need all or some of the following:

  • Time
  • Patience
  • Small rug or dog bed
  • Spray bottle full of water


* It is a good idea to have done the work of clicker training or at least conditioning the clicker prior to beginning this training.*

You will start by training your dog the kitchen itself, is off limits.  If there is no obvious change from the area between where your dog is permitted and the kitchen, you will need to start by placing a small rug (or dog bed) at the entry to the kitchen.  If there is a natural boundary to your kitchen, for example: a change from carpet to tile or a doorway, you should not need to utilize a small rug or dog bed.

Once the rug is in place, take your dog to the mat (or barrier) and place her in a down.  “Click” and treat the dog repeatedly to condition the rug as a positive place for your dog to lay.  As your dog becomes more comfortable on the mat, leave her in a down as you back into the kitchen.  Return to her, “click” and reward your dog for remaining on the rug.  Continue to repeat this exercise increasing the distance from you to your dog and the time between rewards.  You should be working towards conditioning your dog to remain on the mat while you work in the kitchen.

If your dog breaks the command leaving the rug to come into the kitchen, tell her “No” and take her back to the mat.  Begin the exercise again remembering to reward your dog for the correct behavior.  If your dog does not respond to the corrections you will need to utilize a spray bottle full of water to spray her.  (This correction should only be used on pet dogs and not those being trained for Schutzhund or other competitive sports).

When your dog leaves the rug to come into the kitchen tell her “Out” and spray her with water until she leaves the kitchen.  (You will need to spray her even if she runs away, out of the kitchen, before you are able to get to the water bottle to spray her).  Once she has been sprayed and is out of the kitchen, you will want to take her to the rug and place her in the down again.  Do not reward her for the down but, rather wait until she has held the position for a reasonable amount of time.

If your dog is still refusing to stay on the mat and out of the kitchen, more personalized assistance may be necessary, please contact Longoriahaus Dog Training – we’ll be happy to help!

Are you looking for a better behaved, more obedient dog? Longoriahaus Dog Training provides customized Dog Training in Houston for your pet or your competition prospect.  Contact us today to learn more about our exciting program.

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