Resolution #6 – I won’t steal food as much.
Counter surfing can be a dangerous sport. Eating an entire raw chicken can make a dog sick. And there are a number of foods that are poisonous for dogs. Knives and other kitchen utensils can cause injuries. Then there is the mess to clean up. There are several different commands you can use but for the purposes of today’s discussion I am going to suggest expanding the “off” command to include any surface that the dog needs to stay off.
In this exercise I will suggest setting the dog up for the activity, then, introducing off to get “four on the floor”. As he begins to back away from the counter/table/ottoman, etc. praise and treat, just not the treat he was surfing for. If you like using a clicker, make sure you click just as he is backing away and getting into the “four on the floor” position. After setting him up for the lesson a couple of times, be vigilant about supervising him. Never let the surfing morph into begging and then give in.
If you lay a package of meat out to defrost while you go to work, put it In a place where the dog cannot get to it. Better yet, keep the dog out of the kitchen altogether using whatever barriers, doors or rooms are available to you. If possible, feed your dog in another area outside of the kitchen so he doesn’t equate his food with any food prep area. This way you can also teach the dog to get “out of the kitchen” onto his crate/bed as an alternative to hanging out in the kitchen. If you accidentally drop food onto the floor it would be good if the dog isn’t there to retrieve it. Sending a mixed signal is not optimum.
Consistency, patience and perseverance will make this habit an easy one to break.