How do I teach my dog not to eat food off the counter?

Just recently my Presa Canario has started sniffing the edge of the counter and the other day, while left home alone, he at 6 frozen pork chops, 6 frozen Italian Sausages and half a pack of hot dog buns that we had left on the counter. There was some toast missing from the counter a month or two ago that we now know he ate....This all happened at our cabin up north, he hasn't taken anything off the counter at home yet, however he is crated at home. How do we teach him not to do this?

Asked by Louie on Jan 21st 2009 Tagged food, chewing in Chewing
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Hi Louie!
I understand your desire to cruise the counters, especially when rewarded by pork chops, Italian sausages, and hot dog buns! You're a lucky dog! Of course, your people, like mine, probably don't appreciate your excellent foraging skills, so they will probably try what my family did.
First of all, they made sure they kept the food in the fridge or cupboards, where my deplorable lack of opposable thumbs makes it impossible for me to get to.
Then they kept a close eye on my for a few days, and each time I tried to cruise the kitchen counter or bury my nose in the kitchen trash, they said "uh-uh" with a game-show buzzer quality to the sound, and took me outside. I sat at the sliding glass door, peering in and puzzling about why I was outside. Within a couple of days, I figured out that the "uh-uh" noise meant I just did something that was going to isolate me for a few minutes. I learned fast! Now, I am such a good girl, I never cruise the counters for food. Good luck!

Katie answered on 1/21/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


The best way to stop him from doing this is to stop leaving food out on the counter. Thawing it in the refrigerator is also safer for your health, if it is meat that is intended for humans. The second best thing to do is to put up a gate or close a door so he can't get into the kitchen, or crate him when you leave.

Meat is very enticing to dogs, and as they are good at being opportunistic feeders, many of them will eat it just because it's there. You might try to work on a "leave it" command, but it may not work when you're gone for a very long time. Some people use sound aversion or compressed air to keep their dog out of the garbage can - you might look up some info on those training techniques as well. Also make sure he has things to do (maybe a Kong filled with food, etc.) while you're gone, so he doesn't get bored and go looking for trouble.

Zack answered on 1/21/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Miss Buddie

I agree with the other posters that your best bet is to keep it out of his reach. "If you leave it, he will come." LOL I have little thieves at my house too and I thaw everything in the fridge.

If you see him nosing around the counters when you're home, give him the "No" or "Leave It".

Miss Buddie answered on 1/21/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Shayne CGC, RL2

The problem with YOU correcting the behavior is that it probably happens most often when you AREN'T home. Louie will learn that when you aren't home there is no correction.

I agree w/ keeping things off the counter... but stuff happens, i know, i'm guilty of it soemtimes.

This is not a tactic i particularly LIKE but it's effective and since counter surfing can be dangerous i'm using it until i find something better.

Bait the pup w/ something yummy on the counter tie a string around it (or something) and attach the string to a bunch of EMPTY cans. Pretend to leave (take keys etc) or just leave for a few moments.

Your pup will likely take the bait and pull it off the counter and when that happens CRASH BANG! the cans will fall and startle him (not hurt him). quickly come pick up the food.

This way YOU are not connected to the correction at all..just his choice to counter surf. you can repeat for a few days, if it remains on counter then great! Until he knows, keep food put away

Shayne CGC, RL2 answered on 1/22/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


This is what my mom did to cure a Dalmatian of getting on the counters.. mouse traps... the little ones.

and DON'T leave stuff out that he can grab, i'd also look into crating him while your not home, if u don't want (or think its cruel) to use mouse traps.. I can tell u that after he got a few stuck on his lip, he didn't do it any more.. and if it worked on a dal it will work on anything!!!

Member 566387 answered on 2/2/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer