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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Counter "Surfing"

Any tips on how to stop a Dobe from counter surfing and stealing food or anything else from the kitchen counter tops.

I know the obvious answer is watch the dog and keep the kitchen clean but my parents have a 1 year old red female that gets anything from the counter tops and doesnt care if we punish her with a spray of water or a time out she just goes right back to surfing as soon as she sees anything.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 07:39 PM
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I tend to keep food in dog proof containers if it's on the counter. When food is out then I'm watching. Rex is real good about not getting into things but the younger Tara still would. The best way to teach them is to prevent it in the first place as if they get away with it then it will become a habit.

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 07:49 PM
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Lay some booby traps so she gets punished while doing the act? Maybe really small mouse traps (won't hurt her but will scare her), some tin cans with noisy stuff in with a string attatched to food so they fall off and make lots of noise when she gets the food? Otherwise I'd say just keep stuff in containers so there isn't an opportunity for her to do wrong


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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Bman83 View Post
Any tips on how to stop a Dobe from counter surfing and stealing food or anything else from the kitchen counter tops.

I know the obvious answer is watch the dog and keep the kitchen clean but my parents have a 1 year old red female that gets anything from the counter tops and doesnt care if we punish her with a spray of water or a time out she just goes right back to surfing as soon as she sees anything.
Bman,

The bottom line is that the owner has to be dedicated to retraining the dog.

I would have the dog on leash, tethered to me at all times. The dog would NEVER have free access to the kitchen unless I was there and had the leash in my hand.

At the first sign of interest I'd be saying "NO SURF!!!" and following that up with a leash correction and a sit or down command.

At the same time I'd be training for a rock solid sit or down and stay. I would make these formal exercises. I would then start to let the dog into the kitchen with me and only allow this if the dog was in a formal sit stay or down stay. If she moved she'd be right back on the tether.

Frankly it's a lot easier to never let behaviors like this start than to correct them after the fact. But the training can't start any earlier than now.

You need to remember that counter surfing is very rewarding behavior--she's obviously found food to eat in the past and she is going to continue to look until it is make crystal clear by training her that she may NOT behave in this manner. I've never found spraying water at or on dogs for this sort of behavior to be effective. (I really don't find it very effect for much of anything except things like barking and whining). Time outs mean very little to dogs--Dobes are smart dogs but they don't 'get' time outs.

I use time outs only for puppies that have wound themselves up to such a level that they are about like a toddler who really needs a nap and not more stimulation. Put a puppy who is over the top in a crate for a time out and they'll be asleep in minutes but for an inveterate counter surfer this is not a solution.

Good luck. Training is an effective method of altering the behavior but it really does take dedication since it's a giant pain to try to cook meals, wash dishes or do much of anything else in a kitchen with a dog attached to you that you may need to correct multiple times each time you and she are there. I'd also recommend keeping anything edible off the counters until such time as she is retrained.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-24-2009, 07:55 PM
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I agree with the others - she needs to be supervised 100% of the time in the kitchen to prevent her from doing it rather than trying to react to it. Do they gate off the kitchen so she can't be in there unsupervised?




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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 01:26 AM
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I agree with the booby trap method - but I use a blender on an extension cord. Set it up, put something yummy on the counter, and then spy on them. When they go for it, plug it in. I swear it will only take a few times, and they'll leave it alone whether you're home or not. Good luck!

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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 06:23 AM
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Correction after Correction after Correction. I had this, and occasionally still get it every once in awhile. There is no food there... she is just curious.

I have heard that taping tinfoil to the edges of your counters where their paws would land is an effective method, something about it that they don't like... haven't tried it though.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 10:54 AM
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I've never used scat mats but heard that they can be helpful for this along with (and not just in place of) the other training mentioned.

I feel so fortunate that I've never had a counter surfer! But we also don't tend to leave much out on the counter, so maybe that's part of it too. *knock wood*

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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 11:00 AM
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we actually trained him to lick the counters clean... he does a good job on granite.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 11:11 AM
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Sawing off their legs would stop it but it makes walking and Agility really difficult!! Alternatively keep temptation out of reach


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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 11:14 AM
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we actually trained him to lick the counters clean... he does a good job on granite.

that is my coffee maker at work and paper towel holder...lol
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 11:15 AM
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Our Great Dane would counter surf. We baited the counter with deli meat that had a thread attached to it that was tied to a can with about 50 pennies to it. When he stole the food, the penny can would fall and make a big noise. He would run to us for help.

I would never do that to my Dobermans now as I want them to be confident about their business. I don't tolerate counter surfing though, but my dogs are not allowed to roam free until I KNOW they will be good.


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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 11:36 AM
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I think the environment correcting for things such as this is way better than us being involved in it. Dogs with any drive might be fooled by a shake can, tinfoil, mouse traps, etc. once, but it often doesn't really stop it. Remember, this is a self rewarding behavior so it can get pretty strong.

I much prefer the scat mat for things like this. Takes you out of the picture, makes a safe and effective correction, and has a lasting effect.


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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 12:28 PM
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I think the environment correcting for things such as this is way better than us being involved in it. Dogs with any drive might be fooled by a shake can, tinfoil, mouse traps, etc. once, but it often doesn't really stop it. Remember, this is a self rewarding behavior so it can get pretty strong.

I much prefer the scat mat for things like this. Takes you out of the picture, makes a safe and effective correction, and has a lasting effect.
I for one had great success with tin foil as evidenced by the photo below...

Counter "Surfing"-0024.jpg

I went upstairs for 5 minutes and this is what I came back down to. Notice that she didn't even bother to get up or acknowledge that I caught her on the couch? She's such a brat.

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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 02:39 PM
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i lock him out of the kitchen and pray he doesn't figure out how to break the next gate. and i keep everything off the counters, out of the sink, and anything incredibly desirable goes straight into the big trash can outside.

it's too self rewarding, and any successful attempt ruins training. a truly focused dog isn't going to be freaked out by many nagging corrections.

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post #16 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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What is a scat mat?

The problem is Echo roams free down stairs and the kitchen is attached to the tv room where we all hang out and where the fireplace is (she loves to lay by the fireplace). It wouldn't be possible to look her out of the kitchen with the homes layout.

I need to train her to stay off the counter tops. We always try to keep them clear of course.
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post #17 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 04:50 PM
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We had been doing well until today. Baked an apricot brandy pound cake and it was cooling on a rack on the counter in the back. Sweep was left out of her crate and within seconds was helping herself to cake. I just don't know how she stretches her neck that long???? Fourth Dobe and the only counter surfer I have had so far. I HATE it!

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post #18 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 04:53 PM
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We had been doing well until today. Baked an apricot brandy pound cake and it was cooling on a rack on the counter in the back. Sweep was left out of her crate and within seconds was helping herself to cake. I just don't know how she stretches her neck that long???? Fourth Dobe and the only counter surfer I have had so far. I HATE it!
hey, she has good taste. yummy..
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post #19 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 04:58 PM
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What is a scat mat?

The problem is Echo roams free down stairs and the kitchen is attached to the tv room where we all hang out and where the fireplace is (she loves to lay by the fireplace). It wouldn't be possible to look her out of the kitchen with the homes layout.

I need to train her to stay off the counter tops. We always try to keep them clear of course.
A scat mat is a vinyl (?) strip that has wires running through it. It can operate on batteries or an outlet and gives a mild static electricity type shock much like when you rub your feet on the carpet and touch the T.V. or something. They cost about $40.00.

I use them because I don't want to block off the kitchen - where their water dish is - or chase after them all the time. Plus, I am not that great about keeping things put away all of the time or doing dishes right away. Jewel loves to pull dishes out of the sink and lick them and has eaten a few wooden spoons!


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post #20 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bean View Post
I've never used scat mats but heard that they can be helpful for this along with (and not just in place of) the other training mentioned.

I feel so fortunate that I've never had a counter surfer! But we also don't tend to leave much out on the counter, so maybe that's part of it too. *knock wood*
I have never had a counter surfer but I did have a pillow snatcher and used the scat mats on the couches. That was 4 yrs ago and Roxy has never touch a pillow on the couch yet. I have loaned them to another dobie owner who has a counter surfer and she tells me they are working.
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post #21 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 11:03 PM
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Nice thing about the scat mat is that after a few times of being hit they avoid the plastic at all cost. So you can go buy a mat that they put under office chairs, cut them into smaller pieces, and place them anywhere you do not want the dog to go and they will just assume it will shock them. My trainer friend used them to break a dog she got that marked in her house. Now she has little plastic pieces in his pee places and he no longer does it.
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post #22 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobebug View Post
Bman,

The bottom line is that the owner has to be dedicated to retraining the dog.

I would have the dog on leash, tethered to me at all times. The dog would NEVER have free access to the kitchen unless I was there and had the leash in my hand.

At the first sign of interest I'd be saying "NO SURF!!!" and following that up with a leash correction and a sit or down command.

At the same time I'd be training for a rock solid sit or down and stay. I would make these formal exercises. I would then start to let the dog into the kitchen with me and only allow this if the dog was in a formal sit stay or down stay. If she moved she'd be right back on the tether.

Frankly it's a lot easier to never let behaviors like this start than to correct them after the fact. But the training can't start any earlier than now.
.
I 100% agree with Dobebug and have never had a problem with a canine counter surfer. We sat them up to succeed as puppies and watch them closely. They aren't given the opportunity to get rewarded counter surfing.

However, with my kitty there is just no effective training, the counter itself is rewarding since it is up high so we use this because I cringe at the thought of her litter paws walking over my counters
Multivet SSSCAT cat repellent cat control training system
And we also have several high kitty towers so there is enough vertical space.
This works so-so. We have a very bold and persistent cat. But the SSScat is better than just giving up I say


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post #23 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-25-2009, 11:53 PM
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I never have had a counter surfer have left stuff out on the counters all the time,have a Dachshund that has gotten on the table twice she is very sneaky and is still a trash dog.Seems like you run into a dog of any breed that will get into things from time to time.Hard to break them if you cannot catch them so the Dachshund gets in her crate when we are gone.
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post #24 of 24 (permalink) Old 11-30-2009, 11:29 AM
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We made it through Turkey Day without any counter surfing. Someone even dropped a whole pie upside down on the floor and the dogs waited patiently. They did have to be shooed out of the kitchen a few times. Just because they were underfoot. Nothing unusual.

I watched Max like a hawk when all the food was laid out but he was a perfect gentleman and went to corner as usual. I had slipped him a few extra treats but he deserved them.

The cat was a whole different story. He was in ninja turkey stealing mode. He pulled out his book of tricks and used all of them at least 3 times. The dogs politely told on him. I'm sure he will get even.
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