Counter surfing puppy

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ginaheimer
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Counter surfing puppy

Post by ginaheimer » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:12 pm

Our 9 month old puppy, Kirk ,is a Pit bull Chocolate lab mix. He is very sweet and is coming along in his training. My daughter found him wandering around an industrial complex near her college. He was only about 6 weeks old. He is very smart and has reponded very well to all the training advice we have received from this site.

So now that he is taller and weighs about 50 ponds, he has begun counter surfing. He can reach any crumbs or plate left on the stove or kitchen counter. We have been trying to teach him that he is not allowed in the kitchen while food is being prepared. We make him sit on the carpeted area just outside the kitchen and tell him to wait. He gets treats only if he waits for a few minutes and then if he stays there he gets more treats. He does really well with this and we can get through our meals without having him bother us. But as soon as we are all finished and get settled into the family room he takes off for the kitchen and jumps up on the counters looking for goodies.

As soon as we see him heading for the kitchen we say "ahah" and get up to try and block him, but it doesn;t always work, he's pretty fast.
We have lots of chew toys and bones and stuff for him in the family room, but the dinner smells are too much for him I guess. Plus I must admit that when I first started the down stay training I would give him tidbits from what ever I was cooking to keep him down. So I know I now have to uncreate the counter surfing monster. :oops: What should I do?

On another note. We have a head collar for him to help teach him not to pull. I also baught him a training harness but my daughter says he still pulls too much, should I maybe use both, do a double lead so he can learn to walk on a loose lead? We want to do what is best for him. When we are out he is wonderful, he loves people and other dogs so the only issue is the pulling.

Thanks for your help. Love the new site!

Gina and Kirk

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Horace's Mum
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Re: Counter surfing puppy

Post by Horace's Mum » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:48 pm

Can you simply close the door? Or fit a baby gate across the kitchen if there is no door? Easier by far than trying to teach him to stay out of the kitchen. Make sure his recall is perfect in the house too, so you can call him away from the kitchen, but keep the rewards high to make it worth his while.

Leigha
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Re: Counter surfing puppy

Post by Leigha » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:49 pm

I have to baby-gate myself in the kitchen while I'm cooking to keep Bruiser off the counters where I'm preparing the food. Then he would try to get up on the bar/counter while I was cooking. I taught him "off" at first. I'd say the word and when he took his paws off the counter and had four on the floor he'd get a treat. Then I started giving him treats for doing what I wanted without me asking for it. Meaning when he was on the floor he got treats, if he got on the counters he got ignored. To start with he was getting treats very often (like 1 a minute) then I spaced it out. Now he just lays on the floor or sits in front of the baby gate while I'm cooking. I still have to monitor him when I'm not in the kitchen. If I'm not there watching him he'll try to see what he can grab from the counter or the table, so I have to make sure I pick up whatever it is that is on the counter. I'm really bad about it though, so I can't get mad at him for something that's my fault.

If you don't want the pooch to get to it and you can't be there to supervise, put it up...

Can you crate him with something really yummy while you're eating, or tether him to you with a yummy bone or something to keep him occupied with you while you're in the dining room or wherever you eat? Ours have to go outside while we are eating, but that's for a completely different reason. Do you have a fenced yard he can be put into?

ginaheimer
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Re: Counter surfing puppy

Post by ginaheimer » Sun Jan 10, 2010 2:31 pm

The kitchen area is attached to the family room and it is a wide space between the rooms. A baby gate is not possible there. He has a beautiful indoor kennel with his soft crate and a pillow, but we only put him in there for bed and when we leave the house. He is gated off from the living room, he is only allowed in there if we are there with him. His food and water are at the edge of the kitchen, so he needs to have access to it.

The counter surfing is not constant, it's only right after someone has fixed something to eat. He is great during meals. He lays down at the edge of the kitchen and waits. It's after the meals are over that we have the problem.

Thanks for the help!

MaiasMom
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Re: Counter surfing puppy

Post by MaiasMom » Sun Jan 10, 2010 2:45 pm

Tre' does this since he is the tall one of the group. I am really good about cleaning up as I go when cooking, don't like looking at the mess while I am eating, so I clean as I go. I keep a spray bottle of straight plain white vinegar at the ready and and after wiping up, give it a spray and let it dry. They don't like the smell and they don't like the taste and the vinegar leaves the title clean and shiny, a win win all the way around for me. Yes I am a bit anal about this but I just hate looking at a messy kitchen when I am eating and I don't have all that clean up later. Vinegar and baking soda are my only cleaning supplies, they clean without chemicle and never hurt anything, people, animals or things. Yes the house smells a bit like a salad for awhile but that's a good thing. Baking soda is good for cleaning up wee. I sprinkle it on and let the wee be pulled out, it nuteralizes the acid at the same time. I use both for so many things, I was my face with baking soda and don't have wrinkle one at age 62.
and that green alge you get in the winter in wet areas like mine, vinegar kills it and you just wash it away.
The best days are spent with my dogs.

Leigha
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Re: Counter surfing puppy

Post by Leigha » Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:02 pm

If the dog only does it after someone has fixed a meal then the person just needs to make sure they're cleaning up the counter after they've finished. If there's nothing up there for the dog to get into, I'd assume he'd eventually lose interest in it.

It's inconvenient, yes.

emmabeth
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Re: Counter surfing puppy

Post by emmabeth » Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:16 pm

Yep - stop there being anything up there for him to get by wiping up before sitting down to eat - he will learn if you are consistent, that there is NEVER anything up there... and so will stop looking.

You must be consistent though, if sometimes there is and sometimes there isnt - its ALWAYS worth a look so he always will.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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Noobs
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Re: Counter surfing puppy

Post by Noobs » Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:57 am

For your pulling on leash problem, check out this thread: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=858

Using the harness and head collar are just tools for you to manage while you're teaching loose leash walking. They are not tools that will teach your dog not to pull; YOU have to teach him not to pull. Does that make sense? If you follow the instructions on the above linked post, you should be able to teach him LLW in a couple of weeks. I had my dog reliably walking back and forth on my block in a few days, around a few blocks in a couple of weeks, and just about anywhere in a few months. Even nowadays I still have to "remind" him when he forgets and starts to get too far ahead of me. Good luck heading into his adolescent stage - and remember to come back here and continue to ask questions when you need it!

ginaheimer
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Re: Counter surfing puppy

Post by ginaheimer » Mon Jan 11, 2010 10:16 am

Thanks for all the input. Trying to get the teenagers and the hubby to always put dishes in the dishwasher and not just leave them on the sink might be more of a challenge then getting the dog to stop counter surfing. :lol: I will take all of your suggestions and put them to work.

He doesn't just look for food tho, sometimes he just wants something to steal. Is this just to get my attention, or because he is an adolecent testing his boundries? He loves chapstick, or any lip balm for that matter. If my daughter leaves it on the table, the counter, the coffee table he is off with it. He will also jump up to see what is on the kitchen table, homework, bills, tissues, he just wants to snatch and run. Could this be part of the counter surfing issue? Even though he usually just want to lick the sink or counter tops, he doesn't lick the table, just steals things.

Again thanks for the help.

Gina and Kirk

emmabeth
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Re: Counter surfing puppy

Post by emmabeth » Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:18 am

Whats your response when he takes things and runs off, do you chase him and give him a great game (from his point of view!)?..

If so, that does encourage stealing and again the best thing to do is be super tidy (with teenagers and men, good luck!) and NOT chase him but resist the urge and go into another room and find something to offer him as a swap. It is better than chasing but does run the risk that he learns to take things to be offered a swap... but that can be dealt with later on.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

Leigha
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Re: Counter surfing puppy

Post by Leigha » Mon Jan 11, 2010 11:41 am

My dog takes stuff off the tables and counters for a lot of reasons--he wants food, he wants to tear up the paper, he wants to chew on the book, he's bored, whatever.

MaiasMom
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Re: Counter surfing puppy

Post by MaiasMom » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:12 pm

Gina, if he is licking the counters try my method of vinegar, just spray it on. Have you seen the episode where Victoria had the counters cultured of bacteria? the vinegar will not hurt him or anything else, just spray on and let dry, don't wipe it off. My offer is to teach him the "leave it" or "drop it" command if he is taking things and running off.

I had an issue with this with Maia, she loved to take ink pens and chew them up. I had to really work on people in the house picking things up and putting them away, my husband was the worst offender. Cigarette lighters can be death to a dog if they get them. At this point it sounds like the dog is bored and wants to play chase me.
The best days are spent with my dogs.

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