Counter surfing is an undesirable and dangerous habit that some dogs are very good at. A variation of the regular “leave it” cue works well for this.
Begin with really tasty treats in your pocket and a lesser treat up on the counter. When your dog looks at the counter say “leave it” in your normal training voice, the dog is not in trouble. When he looks away or towards you say “yes” and feed him a delicious treat from your pocket. Slowly move the treat closer to the edge of the counter as you step farther away from it. Every time your dog looks away, reward him. Alternate with your dog standing still and walking past the “leave it”. This will make it more natural after all the dog isn’t always sitting or standing calmly in the kitchen.
Continue until you can step into the next room and have him leave it. Then increase the value of the “leave it”. Go from a dry cookie up to a more interesting treat and eventually to something delicious like ham or cheese, that can hang over the edge. If you want to really test the dog, set up a walkie talkie on the counter next to the “leave it”, then leave the house and spy through the window. See if your dog approaches the counter, if he does, say “leave it” into the walkie talkie, as the dog moves away, rush back in and reward the pup.
Once you are comfortable with things up on the counter, start the same process for lower surfaces like coffee and end tables. You should be able to have snacks on the coffee table for your guests without a pup trying to steal them.
Remember your dog is not in trouble during training. If a mistake happens, just walk away and start over from an easier version of the exercise. Training should be fun and full of successful exercises for your dog to learn a behavior. So if your dog is messing up over and over again we need to rethink the exercise to make it easier and then start building from there.
And if you are still having trouble with your pup counter surfing, then you can call our trainer to schedule an in-home consultation.