How do you stop counter surfing and food snatching!?!? - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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How do you stop counter surfing and food snatching!?!?

Oy vey! Our little guy (almost 7 months and not so little anymore) is now counter surfing and it is driving us bonkers. We live in a very open concept house, so we are not able to block him off to the kitchen, and everytime we have food out now, he is up on the counter. I started to put him in his crate, but then he cries and cries and it breaks my heart. I wondered about doing the umbilical again, but he is so strong now, it is so hard to hold him back. When I do things like empty/fill dishwasher, scrape dishes etc., I can take him to his mat and do stay or leave it and he will listen, but when food is out...forgetaboutit. Help?!?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:21 PM
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I had a confirmed pizza thief. The only time she would ever go up on the counter was when I had just brought home a pizza. She was also smart enough to wait until I was not watching to swipe it. I put a set mouse trap on top of the box, so when she pulled it, the mouse trap popped and scared her, and she has never touched the pizza again. If you try this, please make sure that the trap will not snap on the puppy.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:28 PM
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I filled an empty can with rocks, when she tried to pull something off the counter it fell, made a loud noise and that was the end of taking things off the counter for her. She doesn't take the towels I hang from the drawer any longer either.

Before you speak:THINK; T-Is it True? H-Is it Helpful? I-Is it Inspiring? N-Is it Necessary? K-Is it Kind?
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:29 PM
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When Maddie was little (a few weeks ago) she would take things off the counter. I started by moving anything interesting far back on the counter as I could and then blocking it in with something that would be annoying (but not dangerous) if it fell on the ground.

Whenever she was caught, at first I would yell at her and then put her in her crate. Later, all I had to do was look at her and she would freeze, holding the item in her mouth. Then I put her in her crate without saying a word.

She's nine month's old now and doesn't counter surf anymore (of course, that could change).

Our previous dog, Amber, was so miserable when separated from people that when she stole a pie crust I had just made from the counter, putting her on a six foot leash outside and no one speaking to her for a full 20 minutes as they walked by was the ultimate punishment.

Not sure how bad a problem you have. If I felt the dog didn't care what I did, I might up the ante by setting up something that smelled good but had some nasty repercussions of some sort, something a little too hot (a baked potato) or something with cayenne on it. Nothing to harm the dog, but something to get its attention.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:29 PM
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I put a baby gate up for several months and she was never allowed in the kitchen. I removed it and she never counter surfed. I am pretty sure it is because she never got to practice the behavior.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:36 PM
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I would never use a crate to punish a behavior. Not if you want that crate to be a positive place for the dog... vs doggy jail!

Our guys don't counter surf.... within reason (I'm not ready to leave a plate on a low table yet around our pup, but he's learning to lay quietly on the couch until I'm done eating and put the plate on the floor for him and his brother).

You really need to get back to training "no leave it" and "off". And you need to tighten up house rules.

Food away from the edge of tables and counters.

No food in low spots right now unless you can actively follow through and prevent theft.

No handouts while you are eating - EVER.


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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:47 PM
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Bella put her paws on the counter at least a dozen times over a period of 2-3 days once she realized she could reach. I'm guessing 4.5 - 5 months. I honestly can't remember exactly. Anyway....after telling her "off" and "leave it" for two days, I got fed up, grabbed a water bottle that happened to be sitting within reach, and gave her a good dousing. To my knowledge, she has not jumped up on the counter since.

The kitchen is one of two rooms that she has free roam for most of the day. Of course, we also use common sense, and don't leave food too close to the edge of the counter.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:49 PM
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Bear was a master counter surfer. She even managed to get a loaf of bread once that was pushed way back on top on the microwave! She would contort her body and then use her tongue to get those last few inches.
Funny thing was if I was in the kitchen with her she'd show no interest in anything. She'd wait until I left and hang back in the kitchen.
For me, I ended up just never leaving anything on the counter. I kind of like I, my kitchen is now small so having clear counters helps make it look bigger.
Also good because my new trouble maker kittens will tare into any bag of anything left on the counter!
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:50 PM
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How do you stop counter surfing and food snatching!?!?

My Vinnie is counter surfer. He will actually bypass food to steal a dish rag. He's 9 1/2 months old and we're still trying to break him of that.

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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 01-27-2013, 08:59 PM
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My 2 girls never counter surfed. I don't know why...maybe because they were never given the opportunity when young?? I can't explain it. Wish I could give you the secret to it. If it were on the coffee table, or on your lap, my first golden would try to steal it ~ but that behavior didn't start until she was 4. Weird, ha?! Current girl was taught a "leave it" command from and early age, and it's about 99% reliable. We practiced making her wait for her own food after we set it down too, building up the time. Now, she could be put in a down stay and wait a very, very long time. One time, my hubby forgot he put her in a down stay at her dinner bowl and a long span of time went by. He came back through that area and noticed her still in the down stay. He felt sooooo bad! He gave her the "free" command ~ and the food disappeared! hahahaha! What a good girl though! Wasn't even a year old then.

Oh topic and bragging all at the same time!!! Sorry!

Crack down on that pupster and you'll be singing his praises before long too!


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