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Counter Cruising - Dogs that Jump

By Dea Jaffey
Several of my students have asked how to manage a dog that jumps on the counter when the owner is either in or out of the room, and clears all the contents. Owners try to put the contents on the counter to the back but the dog finds a way to remove any thing that is left on the counter. The dogs seem to grow front paws that have extensions that reach to the back of the counter.

A dog in its natural state is a food scavenger. It will eat many items that we as humans would deem totally inappropriate. I would not eat the foil cover to a polident tablet, or cellophane on a bag of popcorn. My puppy thinks these items are fair game.

There are several methods that could be utilized to get the behavior you want. The First experience has the most power to change behavior. When a dog is rewarded with the food off of the counter, he is strongly motivated to continue.

If the above suggestions do not work for your situation, then I suggest you totally manage the problem.

If you feed kibble to your dog, try taking a small handful of kibble, or treats and disperse them around the house for the dog to forage and find. This may distract the dog away from the counters. Also a treat ball that dispenses food as it is rolled on the floor by the dog will give the dog an outlet for his behavior to forage for food.

Basically we need to manage the dog, keep it very busy, or give it a behavior it can do easily and we can reward that good behavior.

Written for Companion Dog Club Beginners class 2002 - Copyright © Pat Scott