Is Your Pup A Counter Surfer Or Garbage Thief? Here’s What You Can Do

Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

March 13, 2015

Note: We here at BarkPost ruv all pups, but we aren’t trainers. If you want to modify your pup’s habits, make sure you consult with a pawfessional animal behaviorist!

Do your fresh baked muffins tend to disappear the moment you turn your back? Do you often come home to your garbage strung about the house like stinky bits of confetti? You may think you are the only one with a bad b!$%*, but you are not alone.


Dogs, like us, love a good meal. So, when they see us eating delicious food, of course they are going to want it too. Unfortunately, once your dog discovers that they can get into the trash, or simply swipe your food from the countertops, it’s hard to get them to stop. These tricks know no doggie size. Remember the video of the beagle that pushed the chair to the countertop and figured out how to get to the chicken nuggets?

Here are some tips on keeping your canine off the counters and out of the trash:


  1. Prevention is key! This is always learned the hard way, but the first time it happens, end it. Always put leftovers away. Put your fruits and veggies up high on the fridge, and store your bread in bread bins or away in the cabinets. Use trashcans with lids that dogs cannot open, or keep the can in a closed cupboard, or in a different room that the dog cannot get to. You can also install child proof latches on cabinets and use baby gates to keep unwanted guests out of rooms.
  2. Provide plenty of mental and physical exercise, so that they are less likely to scavenge out of boredom. Keep plenty of safe chew toys around, so that they will have options.
  3. If you see or hear your pooch getting on the counters or near the trash, react immediately. Clap your hands loudly and yell “off!”
  4. If your pup is one to only counter surf when hoomans aren’t present, try environmental punishers. These work by punishing your dog directly, without you present. For instance, if your dog jumps from the floor onto the kitchen counter, you can balance some lightweight cookie sheets on the edge of the counter. When he jumps up, he’ll land on the sheets. They’ll move and possibly topple over while your startled dog leaps back onto the floor. He shouldn’t be harmed by this experience, but it’s unlikely he’ll risk jumping onto the counter again.
  5. If your dog doesn’t jump on counters, but uses their paws to swipe your goods, you can design a pop can pyramid. Take a dozen empty cans, tie a light string to one, and position it a few inches back from the counter or on a shelf above. Build a pyramid with the cans, placing the can with the string on the bottom of the structure. Tie the other end of the string to a small piece of food that you know your dog likes. Place the food near the edge of the counter. Leave the kitchen and when he discovers the treat, the cans will come crashing down creating a loud noise to scare him from trying it again.


What NOT to do:

  1. Don’t scold or punish them, if they’ve already eaten the scraps. Unless you actually catch them in the act, it’s pointless to punish them. Instead, they are more likely to be frightened of you, and not understand.
  2. Do not shoo or push your dog off of coutnertops. This could be dangerous. Always pick him up and put him on the floor, or demand him to get off.
  3. Do not resort to a muzzle to control your dog’s behavior. Muzzles restrict breathing and access to water. Only use them for short periods of time when you can closely supervise.
  4. Do not use environmental punishers if your pup is skittish and nervous. He could become frightened and never enter the room, or become too afraid to move around your house at all.



Featured Image via 6daltons

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Written by: Dr. Katy Nelson

March 13, 2015

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