Counter Surfing

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by JennSLK, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. JennSLK

    JennSLK F150 and a .30-06

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    Emma has gotten so bad lately for stealing food off of tables. Its really pissing Eric off and starting to get to me.

    She's not starving. She has watter. Any ideas?
     
  2. Zoom

    Zoom Twin 2.0

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    It's food and it's reachable. Do dogs need more of a reason?

    Either keep her away from food or keep all food away from her. I've had to start keeping anything remotely edible locked in the fridge or the bathroom because of Virgo's food klepto.
     
  3. Kela

    Kela Guest

    I think the best solution is really just to keep food off of surfaces. When you're cooking, you're in the kitchen and watching the food. Then it goes to the table and you eat it. For the most part, you won't be leaving food on the counter unattended. If you are, I'd say put the dog in another room or use a baby gate to block kitchen access for mealtime.

    I had a dog that would grab loaves of bread off of the counter. I had to start refrigerating my bread!
     
  4. JennSLK

    JennSLK F150 and a .30-06

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    If it was just me I would just put the food away. But Eric doesnt see the need to.
     
  5. Kayla

    Kayla New Member

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    My family used to be the same way, and always left food out even though I had lectured them a thousand times, so one day while my mom was eating her chicken from Swiss Chalet, he walked up grabbed the whole thing off her fork and ate it. She just stared at me and said wow hes never done that, suffice to say I didnt need to lecture them anymore.

    But word of advice dont let it get to that point. Now food is always put away, Duke still jumps up, but since he is never rewarded I know eventually it will stop.

    Remind Eric that it takes only one out of one hundred trials for your pup to get reinforced for her/him to keep trying.

    Also while preventing the behaviour, by putting her away or teethering while you cook, eat and clean up and by never leaving food out expect at some point it will get worse ( jumping up, checking for food) before it goes away. Don't fret just ignore it, you know shes not going to get anything since your preventing everything so well. Think of it as if the elevator that you take every day suddenly didnt open one day when you pressed the button. Would you immediatly take the stairs? No, of course not youd stand there and press the button over and over until finally youd give up and take the stairs- classic extinction burst.
     
  6. JennSLK

    JennSLK F150 and a .30-06

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    I know what your saying. But here's an example

    We were watching a movie in bed. Eric had crackers on his night stand I had chips. Movie ends, I have to pee. I put chips in drawer so a certain beagle doesnt get them. Eric has his smoke leaves crackers out. Comes back and gets furious at Emma because she took the crackers and was eating them under the bed.

    He doesnt think a dog should grab food off the table. Wich I see his point but I will never get him to put his food away.
     
  7. King Pup

    King Pup New Member

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    I would look more towards training her not to eat anything off the counter rather than vowing to keep all food hidden away. Because sooner or later, you're going to forget and leave a great big chocolate cake lying around...and THAT'S a trip to the vets!
     
  8. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    I have the same problems...

    99% of the time, I make sure everything is off of the counters, and bug everyone enough to make them keep stuff off. But once in a while Gonzo will snag bread or a stick of butter. And I get freaked out at, to which I reply, "told you sooo!" Fozzie once, somehow, ate an entire baguette that I had just bought. Apparently, he got onto a bar stool, walked across the counter AND across the sink to get to it. :rolleyes: Sometimes it is hard to avoid.

    I have heard that "scare tactics" can work, at least for a while. You could booby trap some tempting food, so that if she tried to grab at something, an alarm would go off, or pots would fall, etc. You could even hide in the next room and blow an airhorn, or spraybottle her, if you were watching diligently. I would avoid these if Emma might become fearful of the kitchen in general, though.

    You could teach her an alternate rewarding behavior, instead... when we're eating, I have taught my dogs to go to their beds and wait there, and they'll get a snack when we're done. You have to start by placing a mat/bed in or near the kitchen, and teaching her to go to bed on command. At first, click/treat/reward her every few seconds on her bed, and increase the duration of time until you can be preparing food/eating and leave the room and she'll stay on her mat. You can wean her to just one treat when you're done in the kitchen. She SHOULD realize, sooner or later, that hanging out on her mat/bed or laying on the floor is much more rewarding than stealing off of tables.
     
  9. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    How good of a 'leave it' does she have? That would be the first thing I would teach her. I would also train her with some control games where she learns that by showing great self control that better things are to come.
    Given enough time and training you can absolutely train her to not touch any food unless invited to.
    Combining 'leave it' with management should work very well.

    " Eric has his smoke leaves crackers out. Comes back and gets furious at Emma because she took the crackers and was eating them under the bed.

    He doesnt think a dog should grab food off the table. Wich I see his point but I will never get him to put his food away. "

    If he isn't on board with the training, follow some simple rules and continues to have unrealistic expectations, then he will continue to be part of the problem and he will undo the training that you do.
    So question is do you bother to train the dog when someone else will make it impossible for the training to be successful???:D
     
  10. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

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    How would you train such a dog?
     
  11. Tazwell

    Tazwell New Member

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    I've never had a bad counter surfer, so I've never tried it, but at Petsmart we learned to suggest this--

    When you're right there use the typical AH-AH! or whatever correction you need to use. When you step out of the room for just a moment, whenever you do, set a booby trap. Line the counter with cookie sheets, edges hanging off of the counter just a bit. Then put empty pop cans on the other end of the cookie sheet so it makes a huge racket when they do jump up and knock it down. After the booby trap has been set off, go back in the room. Repeat every once in a while, only in controlled situations (don't leave her alone with the booby trap for a long while, because then she'll just go back up after it's gone and learn it's not always bad.).

    I suggested this to one of my previous foster's new mom when she asked me about counter surfing. She said it worked great. I've never tried this, though, and it wouldn't help with a dog that just stole things off of low tables instead of jumped on the counters.
     
  12. Baxter'smybaby

    Baxter'smybaby swimming upstream

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    Emma is a beagle, right? Best bet is to remove the food--I know it's a challenge. But if Eric is upset by this, he needs to get on board with helping to change it. After all, this is minor compared to what he will need to help with once the baby is here---you will really be working then!

    I agree that the 'leave it" command needs to be strong--for the food issue as well as many others. I have a beagle mix, and a lab--both very food motivated. They both have learned to go sit in a different room while we have dinner--and then they can have a treat when we are done. This works outside too if we are having a picnic outside.
     
  13. JennSLK

    JennSLK F150 and a .30-06

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    Thanks for the sugestions. She has a great leave it command. Sometimes when I leave a room I forget to use it though.
     

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