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counter surfing

Cracking Counter-Surfing and Switching to a Solution Based Mindset

Every waking minute, like it or not, your dog is making choices and if the choice they make leads to something reinforcing then it’s likely that the behaviour is repeated. That’s great if the choice they made is appropriate but can you see how things can unravel if an inappropriate choice is inadvertently reinforced!

Counter Surfing

Take counter surfing for instance, dogs are opportunists and they may pop their front paws up on the counter to investigate to see if there’s anything tasty to eat – their nose usually leads them!  If you happen to leave your steak sandwich unattended and your dog chooses to counter-surf, finds the sandwich and eats it, the unwanted behaviour has just been massively reinforced. And, of course, this is likely to lead to more counter surfing in the future! But if there isn’t any food on the counter, they will not reinforced for this unwanted behaviour.

Creating Solutions

We want to introduce you to the “What Do I Want” framework. Rather than looking at it as; “I don’t want my dog to ……………………………… [insert inappropriate behaviour],” it’s a better mind-set to look at it as; “what do I want.” This mind-set sets you and your dog up for success as it creates solutions, rather than problems.

Four Paws on the Floor

So back to the counter surfing, if, when your dog is in the kitchen and you reward them for keeping 4 paws on the floor (which is an easy win for your dog!), and you reward that choice lots, our dog is far more likely to choose 4 paws on the floor more than anything else – that choice lead to reinforcement and so it is far more likely to be repeated. Coupled with management, i.e. don’t leave that steak sandwich on the side unattended,  and you will crack counter-surfing!

Feel free to share your own recipes or tips – we’d love to hear from you! Write to us HERE! Check out more of our  training Tips HERE and see our Training Events Schedule HERE.

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