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How To Stop Your Dog From Taking Food Off The Counter

Caught! Stealing Food From The Counter

The crime scene is full of evidence. Packaging in tatters on the floor, paw prints on the counter, dinner missing. Sure your dog denies it - says he does not remember doing anything wrong. But he is guilty. He is the thief.

Aside from the annoyance of having him run off with dinner, there are also potential health concerns with the food that he is taking. There are many foods in our houses that are only safe once cooked, and, if your dog fails to follow the recipe, trouble can follow. From raw poultry to chocolate candy, countertop items can be dangerous for your dog. Because of this, he must be stopped.

Why Do Dogs Counter Surf?

  • Food Smells and Tastes Good
  • Hunger
  • Boredom
  • Nutrition Deficiency

If your dog is not getting sufficient exercise and mental stimulation, then he will become bored and will seek out ways to have fun. Swiping food from the counter is one way to liven up the day.

Nutrition deficiencies can be caused by medical reasons or changes in diet. Of course you aren't compelled to rush off to the vet when your dog swipes two hamburgers off the table (his motives are fairly clear), but be attentive to his behavior if the counter-surfing is a new behavior that has emerged long after he has learned not to steal food. Decreases in energy levels and changes in his mood can also be warning signs of illness. Consult with your vet if the behavior is accompanied by any (other) signs of distress.

Tips To Stop Dogs From Counter Surfing

  • Do not leave your dog unattended around food on tables or counters if he is likely to steal food.
  • Teach your dog the "Leave It" or "No" commands.
  • Always say, "Off!" or "No!" when you catch your dog jumping on the counter or table.
  • Create a noise-maker (such as an empty soda can with coins in it) and attach that to an item on the counter. Let him sneak in there and be scared off by the noise.

Stealing food is a good indicator that a dog needs to learn the household rules, and basic obedience training is a great way to teach him.

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