Train, Don't Complain

The Definitive Guide To Keeping Your Dog From Counter Surfing

The Definitive Guide To Keeping Your Dog From Counter Surfing

Keeping your dog away from the kitchen counters can be a challenge. But with the right training and knowledge, it is possible to teach your pup to stay away from any countertop temptation. This in-depth guide will provide you with the tools and tricks necessary to successfully keep Fido away from the counters.

What is Counter Surfing?

Counter surfing is when your dog jumps up on counters or tables in search of food. It's a bad habit that can be hard to break, but it's important to do so for the safety of your dog and your belongings. Here are some tips on how to stop your dog from counter surfing:

- Keep food out of reach: If your dog can't see or smell food on the counter, they'll be less likely to jump up. Put away any tempting snacks and make sure to clean up any crumbs or spills right away.

- Use positive reinforcement: Reward your dog for good behavior with treats, praise, or both. This will help them associate being on the counter with something positive instead of something negative.

- Reward when your dog has 4 paws on the floor. For eg, while in the kitchen and your dog comes around, drop a treat on the floor to reward them, which also keeps their focus down and away from the counters. 

- Be consistent: Everyone in the household needs to be on the same page when it comes to counter surfing. If someone gives in and gives your dog a snack from the counter, they'll just keep doing it expecting the same result.

- Be patient: Like with most things in life, breaking a bad habit takes time and patience. Don't get discouraged if your dog slips up every now and then, just keep working at it and they'll eventually get the hang of it.

Why Do Dogs Counter Surf?

There are a few reasons why dogs may counter surf. The most common reason is that they are looking for food. Dogs are natural scavengers and love to find anything that smells like food. If you leave food out on the counter, it's only natural for your dog to want to check it out (and possibly snatch a quick snack).

Another reason dogs may counter surf is because they are bored or seeking attention. If your dog is left alone for long periods of time, they may start to get restless and look for ways to entertain themselves. Counter surfing can be a way for them to release some energy and get your attention.

Finally, some dogs may simply enjoy the challenge of jumping up on the counter. If your dog is particularly athletic or full of energy, they may see the counter as an obstacle to overcome.

If your dog is counter surfing, there are a few things you can do to deter them from this behavior. First, make sure that all food is put away and not left out in the open where your dog can see or smell it. You may also want to try providing your dog with more exercise and mental stimulation through activities like puzzle toys or training exercises. Finally, if your dog is counter surfing for attention, be sure to give them plenty of positive reinforcement when they behave in the way you want them too.

How to Stop a Dog From Counter Surfing?

It is always best to first teach your dog NOT to counter surf as this is easier than breaking them of the bad habit. As a puppy, if you make the kitchen counter area off limits, there will be no temptation for them to jump up while you are preparing food. But if your dog is getting into things they shouldn’t or begging for food at the dinner table, it can be frustrating. So how do you stop a dog from counter surfing?

Here are some tips:

-Keep food and other temptations out of reach: If your dog is motivated by food, keep counters clear of anything that might look appealing to them.

-teach “leave it”: This command will come in handy in many situations, including keeping your dog away from the counter.

-if you teach the sit stay command use it in the kitchen and place your dog there. A properly learned sit stay will have your dog sitting there and not moving until it is released. 

-use positive reinforcement: Whenever your dog is near the counter and not trying to get on it, give them praise or a treat. This will help them associate good things with staying off the counters.

-provide an alternate surface: If your dog likes to be up high, provide them with a sturdy stool or pet steps so they can still have access to those elevated surfaces without getting into trouble.

-be consistent: It’s important to be consistent with your commands and expectations when training your dog not to counter surf. If everyone in the household is on the same page, your dog will be more likely to succeed.

Alternatives to Stopping Counter Surfing

If you're struggling to keep your dog from counter surfing, there are a few alternatives you can try. One is to create a physical barrier between your dog and the counter. This could be done by using a baby gate or keeping your dog in a crate when you're not able to supervise them.

Another alternative is to provide your dog with an alternate surface to jump on. This could be a designated doggy bed or mat that's placed next to the counter. Every time your dog jumps on the counter, immediately redirect them to the alternate surface and give them lots of praise. With consistent training, your dog should eventually learn that the alternate surface is their preferred option.

Finally, make sure that you're not inadvertently rewarding your dog for jumping on the counter. This means no treats or attention given when they're on the countertop. If they jump up and get nothing out of it, they'll likely stop trying as often. Attention is considered any of: 1. Eye contact; 2. Talking to them; 3.Touching them. 


Counter-surfing is a common problem for dog owners, but it doesn't have to be. With the right tools and strategies in place, you can ensure your pup learns their boundaries when it comes to counter hopping. From positive reinforcement training to physical deterrents like baby gates and raised furniture, there are plenty of ways to keep your furry friend from reaching new heights in search of food or other goodies. Just remember that consistency is key; with patience and dedication, you'll soon have a well-behaved pup who falls short of any kitchen tables!

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