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Breaking Your Dog’s Counter-Surfing Habit

Does your dog love to scour your kitchen counters, searching for any available tasty morsel? Not only is this behavior undesirable, your dog could accidentally ingest something harmful, like chocolate! Below, learn how to prevent and stop counter-surfing from a Broken Arrow vet.

Prevent the Problem

Of course, it’s easiest to prevent counter-surfing behavior from the start, rather than correct it once it’s begun. Don’t let your dog find anything when he does search counters—keep all food and treats off the counter, in sealed containers or in the refrigerator. This way, your dog will never discover that counter-surfing is an easy way to grab a treat. You might even consider using dog gates or baby gates to keep your dog restricted to certain areas of the house.

Provide Dog Food

Some dogs counter-surf because they’re actually hungry. Make sure your dog is getting enough to eat—feed him several small meals a day to keep him full. Consult your veterinarian on what type of food will work best for your dog, and ask about proper proportions and feeding times.

Keep Dog Exercised

Some dogs surf the counter or raid the garbage can because they’re bored or have pent-up energy, and searching for forbidden foods is a fun way to relieve the monotony. Be sure to keep your dog well-exercised—go on walks, romp in the yard, or play games in the basement. Also make sure your dog has plenty of chew toys and other fun items to keep him stimulated.

Training

Try some simple training if your dog has already discovered the joys of counter-surfing. Every time you see him get near or onto counters, clap your hands and say “Off!” or “Down!” firmly. Then, take your dog by the collar and gently lead him away into another room. It’s not necessary to yell or forcibly remove your dog, and it may in fact make the matter worse. Just stay consistent and your dog should eventually get the hint. If you’re having trouble, ask your Broken Arrow veterinarian to put you in touch with a certified animal behaviorist or dog trainer.

Deterrents

Environmental deterrents make a noise or blow a burst of compressed air whenever your dog gets near a countertop. This startles your dog enough that he isn’t likely to try counter-surfing again. Consult your veterinarian for a recommendation on these products.

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