Behavior Tip of the Month
Do You Have A Counter-Surfer?
My year-old dog jumps on counters and tables. He eats whatever is there. I yell at him but he just won't stop. How can I teach him not to do it?
Dogs are scavengers, just like their ancestors the wolves. Hunting for food wherever they can get it is programmed into them.
John Rogerson, an internationally known trainer from England, suggests solving the problem through Play-acting 101. He cautions not to use this procedure with young puppies--- only dogs who are older (than 6 months).
The following is my understanding of his program:
1. Buy a "detonator" type device from a practical joke company. If you can't find that, you can look on the Internet for a dog training device called a "Scraminal". It has flashing lights and makes loud noises. The device has to startle and slightly scare your dog.
2. Put the device on top of a cookie and place both up on the counter.
3. When your dog jumps up and the startler goes off, you run away in panic. Be very dramatic.
4. Pet and reassure your scared canine when he runs to you.
5. Return hesitantly back to the counter and act extremely scared. Show your dog that the counter is fearsome.
6. Periodically, when food is on the counter, approach slowly with your pet and then run away in terror.
Preventive management is also necessary. NEVER leave food on the table or counter. If you do and your dog eats it, this may undo all your play acting.
Lastly, don't blame your dog if he counter surfs. It's hot wired into him. Rather, yell at yourself (Bad human!) since you were the one who left the food out in the first place.
I hope this advice helps your dog not to be COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE.
All kidding aside, let's have a sense of humor during the holidays.
Best Friend Behavior Counseling and Training
San Diego, Ca.
"Positively teaching pets and their people since 1977"
Do you have a question for Carole? You can reach her at this email address - firstname.lastname@example.org Perhaps she will use it in an upcoming article on this Web site.
The information contained on this site is in no way intended to replace that of proper veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment.
It is meant to provide resource, so that we can better understand canine health related issues.