Eating Stuff on Counter

Jean Cote

Staff member
Hi Guys!

Glad I could write you all today! I have just experienced the not so great part of owning a dog tonight. Basically my father cooked a big meal with a big chunk of meat for dinner, and left it on the counter. Usually my dogs ignore everything that we leave on the counter, but tonight my dog Onyx (Siberian Husky) decided that it would be a nice desert.

So after we all ate and stuff, we went back to the kitchen only to find an empty plate, where the meat used to be. So we figured it was my dog Onyx since she is the only one tall enough to reach. Sadly we did not see her so we could not catch her in the act.

So my question is, what would you do in my situation? What training method would you use to stop this behavior from ever happening again?

I have my thoughts on this, but I don't want to spoil your answers so please write me what you would do, if you were in my shoes.




New Member
First i would make sure to never leave such temptations out for my poor dogs again! A big juicy chunk of meat, who could blame them!

If it's a one time thing brought on by such a tempting self-reward and they don't bother the counters again i would probably do nothing.

If this is the start of counter-surfing games and more food stuffs disappear, (and it only happens when i'm not home) then i would start to set up surprise traps. Such as the mousetrap like contraptions that snap without injuring pets - i can't remember what they're called or even find them online right now! - anyway set them up around the counter.

there are also sound aversion devices to try if you're willing to put more money into it. They are in the form of collar receivers and a disc shaped transmitter. You can adjust the radius off from the transmitter that you don't want the dogs to come into and it will give a sound to get the dog to back off.

I've heard of using double sided tape on the counters as well. A stack of aluminum cans with a few pennies in them and then taped shut so they make a HORRID racket when the dog knocks them down would be good too.

While looking for the mousetrap device i came across this site from Karon Pryor all about counter surfing!
How to Put an End to Counter-Surfing | Karen Pryor Clickertraining


Well-Known Member
Ooo perfect, I've been having a bit of a problem with this and have been trying really hard to make sure I've got everything off, but in a kitchen with a chef, it's hard to remind everyone to put things away properly. It's usually small things like bread end pieces, a bag of chips...not too much, but I'd like to be able to train her when I'm away from home. I like the idea of surprise traps. Thanks for the ideas!


Honored Member
Well, Jean, the bright spot in your story is you FINISHED the meal before Onyx had at the meat!! Coulda been worse, see?:msngiggle:
We've taught a really solid "Leave It' to Buddy, and i can pretty much point to anything and say "Leave it" and he will. We have put hot, sizzling steak in front of him, and he WILL "leave it"....We have not tested out HOW LONG:dogblink: this "leave it" is good for, though...
We've also noticed, it is slightly less effective:dognowink: outdoors...

I like the cans idea!!! But a dog as clever as Onyx would probably learn the difference between cans and meat....unless you tied the noisey cans to the meat.

Sounds like maybe Onyx STOOD up and ate the meat off the counter?, as opposed to pull it off the counter, (was the plate was still on counter?) Or, maybe Onyx took only the meat down, and left the platter there...?

See, Buddy tried this exact same thing ONCE, when we left meat unattended....(which leaves me to suspect Buddy somehow realized that meat was not for him, cuz he did this on the sly) but Buddy pulled the entire platter down--HUGE RACKET--and he has NOT done it since.

Or, you could also set up some meat, knowing Onyx may become curious about it, and use that as a teaching moment.

But it sounds like your days of leaving meat about unattended are probably over..:msniwonder:

AT any rate, Jean, it is almost comforting, though, to hear even YOUR marvelous dogs:dogbiggrin: still have some 'moments'!! HA HAHA!!

Jean Cote

Staff member

Thanks for all the kind and very detailed answers, they were much appreciated! :dogbiggrin:

LOL. My dogs are definitely NOT perfect, although this one pretty much takes the cake. There is no way she would have ever done this when I was there, so she had to wait until we sat down to dinner to eat the meat. And yes, she did eat the whole thing standing up, she even licked the plate!

It's kind of funny, because at first my family thought one of us had eaten it all. Then we were like, well, how come the plate is so clean? LOL. :dogbiggrin:

Anyways, time to do some damage control. Now that she's been reinforced for eating stuff on the counter, I will need to set up some scenarios where she gets a little bit of pain when she does it. (I mean this in a good sense.)

I will do this:

1. Set up a nice yummy meal on the counter, then leave and pretend that I am going to sit down for dinner.

2. I will trigger my surprised event at the very moment that she stands up on the counter.

These events will probably be, a type of loud noise (hopefully triggered remotely), or something moving like a remote car, or anything to startle her. Then I could do the same thing but with stepping out of the house and looking through a window.

Other things I could do, as mentioned above is double sided tape. I'm sure that I will come up with some things. :dogbiggrin:

Thanks again everyone!



Honored Member
Staff member
Tigerlily's reply made me think of something.....

Perhaps put a plate of something REALLY YUMMY (but not very expensive...) hanging off the table, so that if she does decide to take a taste, the plate is extremely likely to topple to the floor and scare the piss out of her! Pardon. Not that the intention is to scare the dog, but from then on she might decide that she'd really rather not hear that BIG SCARY NOISE when she pulls the food off the table. Just be sure you're not too far away so you can keep her from reinforcing herself with the meat. Lol!
The idea behind this would be that there isn't a way for her to easily get what she wants off the table without having to tolerate a loud, noisy, scary sound. She's likely to be deterred from it just after one or two tries. She'll basically teach herself that getting stuff off the table is not as rewarding as she thought it was.


New Member

It's been a while, so maybe you have already solved the problem...

I solved our garbage bin stealing problem with a door/window magnet alarm. Two times were enough, now my dog Nelly doesn't touch the garbage anymore :dogsmile:

Now I'm doing the same with the counter. I also have a video of it, but I can't post it yet because I'm new. I can provide details if you're interested though. (Although it's quite simple)


Experienced Member
I've never known anyone personally that succeeded with stopping counter surfing unless they made it impossible. Hence no food out ever so no further success happens. For most dogs it seems well worth the possible consequences to get the payoff. So i'm a paranoid one when it comes to shoving stuff waaaay back to inaccessible areas or putting it away/covering it with dog proof lids etc.

I've heard the sound deterrents work but never knew anyone that had lasting success in the presence of temptation. With all the home care people in lately helping me I've had to really jump on them about leaving ANYTHING on the cabinet esp near the edge even if it's not food, a jar of peanut butter can still be tempting obv.

Good luck...hope these ideas work for u-would love to hear if they do. :doghuh::dogtongue2:


New Member
Hello Snooks!

Of course, I would never advise leaving food on the counter (especially the ones which can be dangerous for a dog's health) when we are not present.

But that garbage habit was a real headache for me because the moment I stepped out of the kitchen I could hear the lid flapping. Really annoying and dangerous! I had to close the kitchen door every time I left the room (imagine how many times per day!).

Fortunately it worked really well with the garbage bin. It's been about three months since I made the "alarm trap" which I removed after a few days (because sometimes I was forgetting to turn it off and ended up being caught myself!:dogtongue2:). It took two tries for my dog Nelly, she never touched the garbage again.

It's not as effective with counter, although I've only done it once (just a couple of days ago). But I don't mind that much because as you said, prevention is much easier with the counter. Especially with Nelly, because she's a shortie and she can't reach the food if you push it away from the edge. I'm very lucky that my other dog Dexter who is much taller doesn't care about food and stealing at all. :dogsmile:


Experienced Member
Good to hear about the bin... I actually built a cabinet (had one built) to put my garbage in b/c I lost my pantry with a nice door when i moved. They never got in the can but the necessity of having people come into my house that kept leaving it open was too much of a danger for me. I've seen them eyeing the counter when previously they never did b/c people keep leaving things near the edge. They don't get that even packaged cheese still in the bag is the same as a steak. :dogblush:


New Member
I had a dog once that ate a whole pumpkin pie ( still warm ) off the counter:dogmad: The deer hunters thought it was really funny til they realized the pie was for them. One of the hunters has bird dogs so he brought his dogs shock collar over for me to use.I put some food on the counter and the collar on the dog and went outside and watched through the window and when she headed for the food I zapped her ( on setting 2 which I tested on my wrist first) it took a couple of times but she never touched another thing on the counters.