How do i stop my dog from stealing food off the counter?
Question: I have a 3.5 year old goldendoodle, with aspirations of doing AKC hunt tests with her.
My wife says the dog would be PERFECT if I could break her of counter-surfing, i.e., opportunistically stealing food from the counter when we are not watching.
I can mitigate that with PLACE command, but that doesn't address times when she wasn't on place to begin with, wanders into kitchen, smells something and grabs it. She is 60 pounds, so can easily put paws on counter and pull what she needs towards her.
Answer: Hey Michael, The answer is actually pretty simple. Executing on the plan is where it can get to be challenging. My dogs have 3 options growing up. As they prove to me that they can be trusted to make good decisions, they earn more freedom. It really doesn't matter the age of the dog, its their behavior (habits) that predicate that freedom and trust which is earned.
The 3 options are: 1. In their kennel or crate. 2. On their place. 3. With me under 100% supervision.
In all three of those scenarios, there is zero chance for counter surfing, or any other undesirable behavior. It is a good example of how I set my dogs up to succeed.
More specifically, the act of stealing food from the counter is fixed by the allowing the dog to understand that it's not acceptable. That is accomplished by timing the proper correction with the action. Dogs typically won't do things that they know are incorrect and or will lead to consequences.
I hope this helps, keep watching the series to see the time, effort, consistency and patience it can take to shape the dogs behavior to fit what we're looking for in the end. Best of luck, Jeremy