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Other Dog Behavior Issues

 

Counter Surfing and Trash Digging

 

The easiest solution to these problems is limiting their access. If your dog can get to them easily they usually will.

Here are just a few tips in hoping to solve these unwanted behavior issues.

 

Availability

Try to not leave the trash where your dog can easily get into it. Keep it out of reach or maybe in a cabinet or closet. If you need to throw old food away try taking it outside to the larger trash can. If your dog has dug into the trash before and found some old slice of pizza they were able to eat, they were just rewarded. I know you didn't reward them for it, but it was a reward none the less and because there was a reinforcement it will probably happen again. If your trash has to be out, try making it harder for them to get into. If you place a heavy brick in the bottom of it, hopefully it will be harder for them to knock and they hopefully become aggravated and just move on.

This goes the same for counter surfing. If you have ever placed some food near the edge of your counter top and walked away, then came back to find your food missing, you probably know your dog got to it. Once again they were rewarded by counter surfing. Anytime that your dog is being rewarded for a bad behavior they are more likely to do it again. It is not out intention on rewarding them but sometimes it just happens. This behavior doesn't need to happen daily, even if they are only doing it a few times a month or as little as once a month, it is enough to reinforce the behavior and keeps them coming back for more. It is always teaching the dog that persistence pays off. They will jump up daily to smell and sniff in hopes of finding something for them. It will take your dog a long time of finding nothing when they look to discourage this behavior from happening again. So try to keep any food items you place on the counter towards the wall so they will not be able to reach them. This should make it more discouraging for your dog to counter surf.

 

Booby Traps

Another great way to keep your pet out of the trash is to set up a booby trap. It isn't to harm or hurt your dog in any way but to startle them so they will run from it. In order for this to work you will have to set the trap every time you are not home to supervise them. There are devices out there such as the Snappy Trainer but you can use a home made trap, I find this to work best. An example of a good booby trap would be, to set up some empty soda cans on top of the trash can usually a couple cans high, so when your dog goes to sniff it, they will fall and spook them away. This trap can also be set up on the counter when you are not home. If you do this every time you leave the dog alone, they will get spooked when they go near the trash can and hopefully will eventually stay away from it. If you punish your dog when your home with things like, scolding, smacking, leave it or time outs. These only seem to work when you are home, they just learn to do the behavior when your not at home. One last thing you can try is a baby gate to keep them out of the area like the kitchen and area where you keep the trash. Eventually they should become accustom to staying out of the area allowing you to remove the baby gate altogether.