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  • Writer's pictureKari Bastyr, MS, CDBC, CPCN

Dog Training: Reward Your Dog and Extinguish Counter Surfing

The best way I’ve found to extinguish counter surfing is to reward your dog for keeping his nose on the floor.  Instead of teaching her what NOT to do (get on the counter), teach her what TO do (stay on the floor), i.e. differential reinforcement of an opposite behavior.

Eliminate Your Dog's Counter Surfing
Eliminate Your Dog's Counter Surfing

If you catch your puppy on the counter, there is no need to make a huge deal of it, especially if she can’t get anything on the counter. In fact, sometimes just walking away works so you aren’t giving any negative attention… because guess what? Negative attention is better than nothing. You can also try ‘Puppy, Off!’ and then praise when he gets down. You can use ‘Watch Me’ (once your puppy learns it) to redirect. You can also use ‘Puppy, Go to your Place’, and lure him to his mat.

Remember- always teach your puppy what you want her to do instead. Skip the yelling, the big scene, the punishment, the squirt bottle, and the snappy traps. Simply make it more rewarding to stay on the floor, and then your puppy won’t be so focused at getting on the counter. It will take a few weeks, but be consistent and patient, as with everything in puppy training, and you’ll have a better outcome!

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