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How do I stop her counter surfing?

(27 Posts)
Panicmode1 Thu 06-Apr-17 17:35:47

This is a new thing - my 2 year old retriever has been good as gold about being left in the kitchen up to now. We have an open plan kitchen diner, so I can't exclude her from the food. Recently, she has taken to jumping up when our backs are turned and stealing food - e.g., half a loaf of bread last week, and just now, I'd left an open Lurpak spreadable on the counter whilst I attended to my 5 year old in the other room, came back, and she'd jumped up, taken it off the counter and eaten half of it.

She is walked for at least 90 minutes a day, we are around at home and the four children play with her a lot, so I don't think that it's boredom - more that she's learnt that she can do it.

HOW do I stop her doing this?! Any ideas? Obviously, at the moment, I have to now put everything away and can't leave her for a second, but it would be nice to get back to the situation we were in before when I could trust her not to steal food.

muttrat Thu 06-Apr-17 17:36:46

Following. My lab has started doing the same. He's 5!

muttrat Thu 06-Apr-17 17:37:59

Fwiw I just try not to leave anything on the side. He ate a whole pack of penguin bars last week - wrappers and all shock

Panicmode1 Thu 06-Apr-17 17:39:32

When she was a puppy and jumped up to our food, I put baking trays on the table and dropped one when I saw her doing it - it gave her a real shock and she stopped....but she's started again now -and she's very clever at it - she waits until I have my back turned or am out of the room, so I don't actually catch her at it. It's very annoying!

TheCrowFromBelow Thu 06-Apr-17 17:39:38

Honestly I don't think you can.
Our flatcoat is the same, good as good whilst we are in the room but can open all cupboard and will try and eat anything he can get. Including rice, smoked paprika, tins.
We've had to move everything up high and we just don't leave anything out.
Like you say it isn't boredom, it's sheer greed.

BellaGoth Thu 06-Apr-17 17:42:41

Yeah, you just have to be vigilant about putting stuff away I'm afraid! <bitter experience>

witwootoodleoo Thu 06-Apr-17 17:45:18

Guide dog puppy walkers teach the pups not to do it by leaving lots of baking trays out on the worktops so that when the pup jumps up it knocks one off and gets a fright. They soon stop doing it.

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Thu 06-Apr-17 17:45:37

My pig of a rotty ate some curry we strategically left on the table. . Stopped her scavenging for a while!!

Panicmode1 Thu 06-Apr-17 18:04:50

I was wondering whether lacing things in chilli would stop her doing it - but not sure I can face the results of her eating it!!

Yes, I was taught the baking tray trick - it worked when she was little, but it's not working now.....

I guess I just have to be absolutely vigilant about food on the counters and try and isolate her from the kitchen when I'm cooking (by putting her in the hall).

flowery Thu 06-Apr-17 18:10:13

We gave up. Easier just to not have anything within reach. They can reach an awful long way if sufficiently motivated though. Our springer uses his paws to great effect to drag things nearer the edge.

Bubble2bubble Thu 06-Apr-17 18:14:31

There's no stopping a lab who wants food, We put everything away and have child dog locks on the cupboards and fridge. We also have a stairgate on the kitchen so at least if I'm cooking I can have a bit of peace.
Having a counter-surfer in the house is just another way of life..

Panicmode1 Thu 06-Apr-17 18:15:37

She hasn't figured out cupboards yet - is that just a matter of time shock?

HighMountain Thu 06-Apr-17 18:16:43

There was a thread on this a while ago. The suggestion in brief was:
× Lace a piece of bread with lemon juice and leave in the problem place.
× Dog steals bread and hates the lemon juice.
× wipe down all surfaces with lemon cleaner.
× the dog associates the lemony smell with the horrible lemony taste and won't steal from any surface smelling lemony.

Haven't tried this myself yet but sounds a reasonable suggestion and won't harm the dog in the process like chilli might.

Panicmode1 Thu 06-Apr-17 18:22:56

Thanks High Mountain - I am going to try that (sounds much kinder than chilli)!

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Thu 06-Apr-17 18:27:51

I tried the baking tray trick. I think greed overcame fear. My lab waits until I'm out of the house before he takes anything. My dog trainer said it's seperation anxiety. I think he's just learnt to steal when he knows I'm not looking. Like when they're toilet training and you tell them off if they've done it in the house and they don't make the connnecion that they're indoors, they just learn not to do it in front of you. He doesn't steal in front of me.

donajimena Thu 06-Apr-17 18:31:21

My friends lab who I look after is brilliant with food. Or so I thought. She wandered into the lounge licking her lips... she'd eaten a cooked chicken. But not the bones. I must have been mumsnetting because it was very delicately done.

Bubble2bubble Thu 06-Apr-17 18:43:06

Ddog once stole a lemon from the fruit bowl. He obviously didn't like it,so came back for a few apples, an avocado and a couple of bananas.

muttrat Thu 06-Apr-17 18:49:09

My dog trainer said it's seperation anxiety

My lab comes to work with me, he's literally never alone. He's just a greedy bastard.

Some times dog trainers say some dickish things.

BiteyShark Thu 06-Apr-17 18:54:34

I knew we had a counter surfer when I heard my DH chastising the dog. He had turned his back for a few seconds to find the dog running off with the sarnies he was making for his lunch grin

Panicmode1 Thu 06-Apr-17 18:55:22

My dog is doing this when there is a house full of people - she's just a very greedy opportunist.....whilst it may sometimes be down to separation anxiety or boredom, I think in my dog's case, it's just greed.

isthistoonosy Thu 06-Apr-17 19:03:26

Prob not the right answer but we just waited out of sight so we caught the dog 'red handed' and balled him out made it very clear that it isn't done and is never to be done again. Didn't hit him or anything, of course. And we are supper strict on any scavaging / begging/ licking etc of food /scraps that haven't actually been given to the dogs already.

Frouby Thu 06-Apr-17 19:05:00

I have a whippet.

If it's not 9ft up she whips it. She is shocking.

Never solved it and have tried everything. She also very gently steals toddlers food. In fact I have known them wrestle over a biscuit and the toddler win. Boak.

CornflakeHomunculus Thu 06-Apr-17 19:09:41

Easy answer is just don't leave stuff within reach. Guaranteed to work without the need to scare your dog or trick them into eating potentially unpleasant foodstuffs.

I've got whippets who can very easily just hop up onto the kitchen worktops and take anything left out. It very quickly became habit for me and DH to either not leave them in the kitchen unattended or make sure there was no food within reach.

CatsCantFlyFast Thu 06-Apr-17 19:25:03

Just a warning - we had a rescue that came to us with this habit and was aggressive with whatever she had taken. It progressed from tasty food to weird food (lemons/spices etc) to random things (bleach/cleaning products). She was a giant breed and learned to open cupboards (we locked them) and then t stopped being about the kitchen and ended up being anything in general (remote controls etc). Try and stop it early if you can (though no help as to how)

Noitsnotteatimeyet Thu 06-Apr-17 20:22:14

We have a would-be counter surfer - we've cut down the amount he does it by being scrupulous about never leaving anything on the worktops within reach (it helps that he's a Toller so his legs are a bit shorter!) and by teaching him to go to bed when we're cooking and rewarding him for being quiet on his bed. We have a large open-plan kitchen/dining room so can't physically bar him from the kitchen bit.

The problem is if he ever gets rewarded for counter surfing, even if he only gets a couple of breadcrumbs, then the behaviour is reinforced and it takes hundreds of unsuccessful attempts to extinguish the behaviour as his motivation (greed) is so strong.

He only ever does it when he thinks he's not being watched and he will stop if I go 'ah-ah' and shake my head.

He doesn't open cupboards, raid bins or knock his or the cats' food over though so in comparison to some dogs' greed, his is relatively easy to deal with ...

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