How to Stop Dogs From Jumping On Counters? If you’re like most dog owners, you’ve probably had to deal with your pup jumping on the counter at some point. Dogs have a natural instinct to jump up on things – it’s how they explore their world. For many dogs, counters are simply too tempting to resist.
They’re at just the right height for a good sniff and a quick snack, and if you’re not careful, your dog can make a meal out of your hard work in the kitchen.
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It’s a frustrating behavior, but there are ways to stop it.
So how can you stop dogs from jumping on counters?
Here are a few tips:
1. Keep your counters clear.
This one might seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating. If there’s nothing on your counters, there’s nothing for your dog to eat. So take the time to clear away any food or dishes before you leave the kitchen.
2. Use positive reinforcement.
If you catch your dog in the act of counter surfing, make a loud noise (clap your hands, for example) to startle him and then immediately give him a treat. This will help him associate the counter with something positive (treats!) instead of something negative (getting scolded).
3. Train your dog to “leave it.”
Teaching your dog the “leave it” command is a great way to stop him from counter surfing (or any other unwanted behavior). When your dog is on the floor, show him a treat in your hand and say “leave it.” When he doesn’t take the bait, give him the treat. With enough practice, he’ll learn that “leave it” means to not take the food in your hand – and that will apply to food on the counter as well.
4. Use a physical barrier to stop dogs from jumping.
If you can’t seem to break your dog’s counter surfing habit, you may need to use a physical barrier to keep him away from the counters. Gates or baby fences can work well, or you can try using a pet-proofing spray like Bitter Yuck! No Chew Spray. This spray tastes unpleasant to dogs (but is safe for them), so it will deter them from chewing on or licking anything you spray it on.
5. Seek professional help.
If you’ve tried all of the above and your dog is still counter surfing, it may be time to seek professional help. A certified professional dog trainer can assess your dog’s behavior and come up with a customized training plan to help put an end to the counter surfing once and for all.
Why does my dog counter surf?
Food left on tables or kitchen counter tops can serve as an open invitation to your dog. If your dog has ever found food on the counter, they may continue to jump up to look for it and feel rewarded when they do. Here are some of the reasons your dog steals food:
- It is completely natural for your dog to do so. When your dog steals food, they are acting instinctively. Because food is scarce in the wild, dogs have learned to scavenge in order to survive.
- When dogs are hungry, they will counter surf. Should we go on?
- This type of behavior can be caused by a lack of obedience training. Some dogs steal food because they have never been taught that it is wrong.
- Boredom and a lack of exercise can lead to increase thievery and a variety of other behavioral issues in the pursuit of entertainment.
- Dog separation anxiety may manifest as thievery. Dogs will frequently steal items that have their owner’s scent, such as socks or shoes. If your dog is left alone for an extended period of time, they may resort to destructive behaviors such as food theft.
Should I punish my dog for stealing food?
When most people punish their dog, the punishment is usually insufficient to outweigh the reward – bacon, cheese, or a hot dog – so your dog will continue to surf.
If you punish your dog for counter surfing, he or she will learn not to steal food when you are present. Your dog will simply try to avoid punishment rather than because they believe what they are doing is wrong. You won’t hear it, or it will happen so quickly that you won’t notice.