Skip to main content

How to Stop Counter Surfing Puppies


July 10, 2014


Counter surfing is almost a rite of passage for large breed puppies. It seems to kick in at about 4-5 months of age as the puppy gets just big enough to sniff the edge of your counters while standing on his little back legs. Small breed puppies don’t typically counter surf in the traditional sense, but they will jump on chairs or couches to access table tops. Their version is much easier to control in puppyhood by keeping your table tops clean.

Your puppy needs to know from the very first attempt that you don’t want him to counter surf. You need to know what strategies need to be in place from the beginning so that you can easily address it and nip it in the bud before it becomes habitual and much harder to correct.

Tips to stop your puppy from counter surfing:

The first step is to really keep your counters clean. This is a prevention strategy that really sets your puppy up for success by removing the temptation for him. Equate it to a young child. Imagine you place a chocolate bar on a table and say, “Don’t touch that!” Guess what’s going to happen at the first opportunity. It’s just hard to resist the temptation. Puppies are the same. If you leave food wrappers, parts of your meal, dirty dishes, etc. on the counter top, his little nose goes into overdrive, and it’s just too hard to resist for most dogs. Clean counters mean fewer reasons to get up there.

The second step is to really reinforce staying off the counter. Don’t push him off or yell at him (this is unnecessary). Instead, when he first begins to get up on the counter, walk towards him and stand parallel to him. Gently move sideways into him so that he is forced off the counter. Say “Off” as he falls off. This way he will learn a command too.

If he is having trouble, or you find him constantly testing you and jumping up on the counter, simply place a 4-6 foot long leash on him. Let him drag the leash with him. If he moves to jump, grab that leash and use it to remove him and say “Off.” The leash can be the most useful tool with persistent jumpers because it helps you correct him quickly. It’s like a second and longer hand!

It’s also worth mentioning that it’s important to really exercise and play with your puppy. Many counter surfers are worse when they have pent-up energy. Exercise helps release that appropriately.

Bringing a new family addition into the home is extremely exciting! Becoming a new puppy parent comes with a ton of new joys, challenges and responsibilities. PupBox was created to help new puppy parents like yourself, by providing all of the toys, treats, accessories and training information you need, when you need it. CLICK HERE to learn more about PupBox.

And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!