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Thanksgiving meal: counter surfing and food stealing; why dogs do it.

Quite a lot of dog owners have experienced their pets stealing food from the dining table or even the kitchen countertops. Your pizza slice or sandwich is gone when you turn your back for a second, yet your dog is there licking their lips next to the tabletop while appearing innocent. Even a new word, "counter-surfing", was invented by dog trainers to characterize this action.

You've probably laughed at amusing videos of pets stealing food or maybe seen your own dog grab food off the counter. Although some pet owners may find counter-surfing dogs amusing and funny, it may be a potentially deadly habit. Imagine your dog stealing something harmful or accidentally tipping over a pot that is on the stove. This is why it is the duty of the pet owner to take the appropriate precautions and understand how to keep dogs off of countertops, especially as Thanksgiving is around the corner.

What causes my dog to counter surf?

Food left out on kitchen counters or dining room tables might serve as an open invitation for your pet to dive in. If your dog has ever discovered food on the table or countertop, even just once, they might continue to jump up to seek for it and feel happy after discovering something. Your dog may steal food from the counter for the following reasons:

  • It is completely normal for your dog to act in this way. Your dog is acting instinctively when they steal food. Due to the scarcity of food in the wild, dogs have formed their scavenging skills.

  • When dogs are hungry, they will counter surf. Do we need to say anything else on this?

  • This kind of behavior may also result from a lack of obedience training. Some dogs merely steal food since they have never learned that it is improper to do so.

  • Restlessness and a lack of exercise can encourage more stealing and a variety of other problematic behaviors.

How can I prevent my dog from taking food off the counter top?

Our dogs have simply discovered how easy it is to get tasty food on kitchen counters. Your dog is rewarded each time it steals food, which reinforces the behavior.

Are you sick of having your meal stolen by a sly dog every when you turn your back? Here are some suggestions for keeping dogs off tables and counters:

Get rid of the temptation sources.

The easiest method to handle dog counter surfing is to stop it before it starts. Clear the counter of all foods and store treats in the refrigerator or closed cupboards. When you finish cooking, don't forget to pick up your food. You might need to adjust some of your behaviors if you're a first-time dog owner, such as not leaving food out or clearing up after yourself when you're finished eating.

If you must put food on the table (like leaving pastry to cool down or a buffet for a gathering), move it further away from the counter's edges to stop your dog from stealing it. You could also confine the dog to its crate, use a baby gate, or close the door to keep them out of the kitchen.

Feed your dog well!

Ensure your dog is eating a balanced diet by checking through what you are serving them. Make sure the issue is not medical as well. Your dog's appetite can change for a variety of reasons, such as hormone imbalances, stress, or damage to the central nervous system. Your responsibility is to make sure your dog is fed properly and doesn't need an additional snack, which in most cases might just be on your dinning table.

Only give your dog food from its bowl.

You will admit that watching dogs eat at the dinning table or "hunt" for leftovers can be quite adorable. But this is exactly the kind of thing you shouldn't permit. Don't let your dog eat off the table while you're eating! Ensure that your dog only feeds from its own bowl. Make sure to put any snacks in your dog's bowl if you wish to share one or two.

Don't offer food to a dog begging for it.

Whenever we cook or eat, dogs normally come begging for food. They are expert manipulators. When a dog approaches the kitchen or dining table with sad, watery eyes, we like to give them anything they ask for. All of us have been there. We know that feeling. However, you should be mindful as that might just encourage them to return more frequently. Your pleading puppy is not to be pitied! Consider the fact that it is well-fed and not in risk of going hungry.

Engage your dog.

Providing a lot of mental and physical activity all through the day is one of the most effective approaches to prevent dogs from counter surfing. Games, training, and nice long leash walks are all excellent ways of achieving this. Your dog might steal food occasionally merely out of boredom. Keep in mind that keeping your dog busy will help curb undesirable behaviors like food theft and counter-surfing.

Do I need to discipline my dog for stealing food?

The majority of owners rarely discipline their dogs well enough to cover for the reward they are receiving — such as the cheese, pizza slice, bacon, sandwich, or a hot dog — and that is why your dog will likely keep surfing.

Your dog will only teach your dog to stop stealing food when you're nearby if you discipline them for counter surfing. By implication, your dog will merely strive to avoid punishment and not because they believe what they are doing is bad. The theft will either happen so quickly that you won't see it or you won't hear it happen.

How to prevent your dog from counter surfing.

You can teach your dog not to jump on kitchen counters, even if it is a difficult habit to break. Try the following:

  • Place something appetizing on the countertop while your puppy is strapped to a leash. Say "No" and pull the leash back as soon as your dog goes up to sniff the table.

  • Train your dog to "drop it" if you catch him stealing things.

  • Use the "go to your place" or "lay down" command on your dog if you catch them sniffing around the kitchen.

  • Always give a treat as a reward for good behavior. Dogs are intelligent, so yours will quickly learn that following your instructions increases their chances of receiving a treat rather than sneaking a treat behind your back.

Dogs are naturally drawn to the appetizing human food. As dog owners, it is our responsibility to train our pets in polite behavior.

Keep in mind that a well-trained dog is a happy dog! You can even keep tabs on your furry friend's behavior even while you are not home with the help of a pet camera. You can use your smartphone to check in on your pet whenever you want, or watch their video footage on an interactive dashboard to see what they've been up to.

Are you finding it difficult to train your dog? Do you need professional help? Contact

Morgans Pawsitive Pup Training today to get started!

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