When you turn your back in the kitchen, does your dog hang 10 on your kitchen counters, surfing for any tasty morsel he can find? Although your dog may dig counter surfing, most of us prefer they keep all four on the floor.
Dogs counter surf because more often than not, the payoff is big. Not only do they stumble upon delicious forbidden treats such as some stray birthday cake, your toddler’s leftover waffle, or maybe even that lovely ribeye you were just about to throw on the grill, but they also get all kinds of attention when you scream and chase them off.
The first wave of defense in the counter surfing counter attack is obvious, keep counters free of anything that could be considered interesting to your surfer boy. Putting food in the fridge, pantry, or at least in an airtight container, takes away the reward of catching the big wave. But let’s face it, this isn’t always practical, especially with kids (or spouses) in the house.
When prevention doesn’t work, the second wave is deterrence. Create some surprise noise makers by adding several pennies to a beverage can and sealing the opening with sturdy tape. Line the noise makers along the counter’s edge so your surfer will get a loud surprise (aka correction) as they knock a few down while surfing forbidden territory. Most dogs are startled by this type of noise and will quickly find something else to do that does not involve countertops with clanging cans. You can also try using double sided or packing tape with the sticky side facing upwards, so when paws attempt to catch the big wave, they come away with tape unpleasantly stuck to their feet (think of the feeling of gum on the bottom of your shoe…yuck!).
There are several great things about these deterrents. Neither are harmful, they work whether you are in the room or not (quite helpful for the stealthy or midnight surfers), and they shift the surfing experience from fun and rewarding, to distasteful and unpleasant.
With a little prevention, patience, and perseverance, you can teach your counter surfer to save his rad moves for the open water.
Canine behavior coach, behavior advisor, training counselor.