How Do I Prevent My Dog or Puppy from Counter Surfing?

So, How do I prevent my dog or puppy from counter surfing? Hey there, fellow dog lover! If you’re reading this, you’ve likely had your fair share of encounters with a mischievous pup who can’t resist the temptation of your kitchen counter. We get it, it’s frustrating and potentially dangerous, especially if they snatch something they shouldn’t. But fear not, because in this guide, we’ll walk you through all the secrets and strategies to keep your dog or puppy from counter surfing.


Counter surfing is a common behavior problem among dogs and puppies. It’s their way of scavenging for a quick snack or satisfying their curiosity. However, it can lead to accidents, a messy kitchen, and even digestive issues for your furry friend. So, let’s get to the bottom of this and find out how to prevent your dog or puppy from counter surfing.

Understanding the Canine Psyche

Before diving into the preventive strategies, it’s crucial to grasp why dogs indulge in counter surfing. To address the issue effectively, we need to step into their paws and see the world from their perspective.

Curiosity Killed the Cat, but Dogs Are Curious Too!

Dogs are naturally curious animals. Their inquisitive nature is what leads them to investigate every nook and cranny of your home, including your kitchen counter. They’re driven by the allure of new scents and the possibility of finding a tasty morsel.

Scavengers by Nature

Historically, dogs are scavengers. They’ve evolved as opportunistic eaters, and your kitchen counter provides them with the perfect opportunity. When they catch a whiff of something appealing, they can’t resist.

How do I prevent my dog or puppy from counter surfing?

Now that we’ve delved into your dog’s psyche, let’s tackle the million-dollar question: how do I prevent my dog or puppy from counter surfing?

  • Clear the Countertops: The first and most straightforward step is to remove any temptations from the counter. Make sure all food items, dirty dishes, and even enticing kitchen utensils are out of your dog’s reach.
  • Dog-Proof Your Trash: Dogs often look for treasures in the trash can. Invest in a sturdy, lidded trash can to keep those garbage delicacies away from your pup.
  • Training is Key: Teaching your dog basic commands like “leave it” and “stay” can go a long way. Consistent reinforcement of these commands can deter them from jumping on the counter.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Praise and reward your dog for good behavior. When they choose not to surf the counter, give them a treat or a loving pat. This positive reinforcement strengthens the idea that staying off the counter is a good thing.
  • Deterrents: There are various deterrents you can use. Try using double-sided tape or motion-activated alarms on the counter’s edge. These create an unpleasant experience for your dog, discouraging them from jumping up.
  • Baby Gates: Placing baby gates in the doorway of the kitchen can create a physical barrier, making it harder for your dog to access the counter.
  • Provide Alternative Entertainment: Sometimes, counter surfing can stem from boredom. Ensure your dog has toys or interactive puzzles to keep them occupied.
  • Scheduled Feeding Times: Instead of free-feeding, establish set meal times. This routine can help manage your dog’s hunger and reduce their desire to go counter cruising.
  • Behavioral Training: If the issue persists, consider professional dog training. An expert can address specific behaviors and provide a tailored solution.
  • Consult Your Vet: Sometimes, counter surfing may be linked to a medical issue. Consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems.

FAQs About Preventing Counter Surfing

Q1: Is counter surfing harmful to my dog’s health?

A1: Yes, it can be. Consuming certain foods or chemicals from the counter can lead to digestive issues, poisoning, or choking. It’s essential to prevent this behavior for your dog’s safety.

Q2: My puppy is a serial counter surfer. What should I do?

A2: Puppies are naturally curious, and training them takes time and patience. Be consistent with the methods mentioned earlier, and consider enrolling in a puppy training class.

Q3: Can I use punishment to stop my dog from counter surfing?

A3: It’s best to avoid punishment. It can lead to fear and anxiety in your dog. Positive reinforcement and training are more effective and humane methods.

Q4: What are some safe counter surfing deterrents?

A4: You can try using aluminum foil, commercial pet deterrent sprays, or even a Ssscat spray, which emits a harmless burst of air when your dog approaches.

Q5: Are there breeds more prone to counter surfing?

A5: While any breed can engage in counter surfing, some are more notorious for it, such as Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, and Terriers. However, training can be effective for any breed.

Q6: How long does it take to stop counter surfing?

A6: The time it takes to prevent counter surfing varies depending on your dog’s age, breed, and temperament. Consistency in training is key, and it can take weeks to months to see significant improvements.


Preventing your dog or puppy from counter surfing requires patience, consistency, and a good understanding of your pet’s needs and instincts. Remember, it’s a process that takes time, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.

By following the strategies outlined in this guide, you can create a safer and more harmonious environment for both you and your furry friend. So, take action today, and before you know it, your dog will be steering clear of the kitchen counter, leaving your countertops food-free and your peace of mind intact.


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Cat Hocking

Having had dogs all of my life I have learnt so much and continue to learn more with each individual dog that enters our family. These amazing creatures can teach us so much! In the Dog Care Guru I share information, resources and accessories for our canine children.

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