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My standard poodle is jumping up and eating food from tables and counters. This is a new thing. Should I just put him in his crate when it's time for us to eat dinner? I'm afraid to grab any food he has from his mouth because a previous puppy we had was a resource guarder and would try to bite and would growl viciously. Any tips for me? My trainer said to do a "trade" for the item but there is not always time. He will down the food very quickly before I can find anything good to trade. Also will eating things like bread be very bad for him? thank you so much
 

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Well first eating people food unless it is chocolate, grapes/raisins, onions or other obviously dangerous foods won't hurt your dog other than potentially making him chunky if he trends towards the gluttonous end of the eating spectrum.


Next I would not view the crate at mealtime a long term solution although for now it may help you.


Finally oiy on counter surfing. Lily is an addicted and unrepentant counter surfer who has eaten all sorts of things she shouldn't have off our counters over the years. The pattern for this behavior is based on it being very self rewarding and therefore rapidly reinforced by the dog who does it. I have surrendered to her by keeping things that are really bad for her out of reach. She still looks many times a day probably since I see her do it many days, but obviously am not always here to catch her in the act. Having one dog who acquired this naughty naughty habit before I could correct it I was very determined that Javelin would learn no such bad acting. I had tried booby traps on the counter, putting tabasco sauce all along the edges of our counters to no avail to fix this with Lily so for Javelin I did something to really dissuade him from thinking this is something to ever think of doing. We have a shaker bottle with a few pennies in it that we have used as a way to interrupt crazy behavior that Javelin really respects as a tool. So when I saw he was starting to put his nose over the edge of the counter and think about jumping up I threw it at him so it just winged his head and clattered onto the floor next to him. I know a lot of people will think that was a horrible thing to do, but I aimed carefully so as not to hit him in that face. He wasn't traumatized just surprised that it could fly and not just make noise in someone's hand. He has never put a paw on our counters or any other piece of furniture in his 3+ years. All it took was that one time.


Trading for forbidden/stolen stuff only works if you can get the dog to give it up before it swallows, but it is generally a good behavior to install since it can help you get dangerous things away from them. I also heartily recommend teaching all dogs to accept having people's hands in their mouths since this can help you administer medication if needed.
 

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I would start by removing the opportunity for counter surfing - keep food away from the edges, and the dog out of the kitchen (or safely on a mat) while preparing and serving food. Teaching and heavily rewarding a Place cue will help with trining the dog, although humans can be harder to teach!

To teach the advantages of trading you need to work with low value and high value stuff at times when they are under your control. If your dog bolts food it may be easier to use toys or boring chews for the lower value. Offer something ho-hum, them immediately offer to exchange it for something really, really good, and then - the important bit - give back the ho-hum thing as well! This will astonish most dogs - canine etiquette is that once something is in your mouth it is yours, never to be given up - but it will quickly convince them that it is really, really worth while to give you whatever they have in their mouths, as they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I still give mine a small taste of the grabbed item if it is safe (usually stuff they have scavenged on walks), along with praise and a suitable treat if I have one with me. Plan ahead - play the game 100 times before you need to tell your dog to drop that really dangerous thing she has just grabbed!
 

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The method that I used was recommended by a local trainer. I placed cookie sheets along the edge of the counters, overhanging the edge. The idea was that you move the sheets a little at a time until eventually they are flush with the counter edge and the problem is solved.

It's pretty awkward in the kitchen for a while, but it worked for me. My spoo will still sniff at the edge of the counter but he hasn't taken anything and rarely jumps up to investigate. Mind you, I don't leave tempting food out. However, there are bags of treats on the counter up against the kitchen wall that would have been fair game for my old bassett-X (who was shorter than my spoo).

I've told the story before of my dog back-chaining the "off" command to earn treats. One must place paws on the counter in order to be rewarded for taking them off!
 

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When Jazzy started doing this, we purchased a package of "Heuter Toledo Snappy Trainers" from Amazon.com. You can look at a picture of them there; basically they are made from a mouse trap with a large plastic flap, like a ping pong paddle.
You are supposed to set them and place on the edge of the counter. Then, when your dog starts counter surfing, they go off, the flap snaps, and your dog is so frightened, they learn to avoid the counter.
When they arrived, we set them up on the kitchen counter and left the house for an hour. When we got back, we found all the traps had been set off and were on the kitchen floor. Jazzy was laying down in the middle of the floor, happily chewing one of them up.
I gathered up all the pieces and sent them back and did eventually get a refund, although the company complained the item was damaged!
We just kept food off the counter and she pretty much has stopped this behavior.
 

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so it just winged his head and clattered onto the floor next to him
I approve...

IMO there's the slow and gentle way to train dogs, and then there's the quick and dirty.

I once read in an old hunting book that dogs were trained to follow the 'right' scent. Trained by 'riding the horses over them' when they picked the wrong scent. Ouch!
But they never followed that wrong scent again...

Somewhat more gentle than that a severe startling will often do the job. You want them to think: "Oh! Wait just a minute. The last time I did that it was NOT rewarding."

Also... dogs respond remarkably well to 'barking'. Catch them doing something wrong??... get right in their face... give 'em heck! Pretend you're their annoyed mom. Perfect your snap-'n-snarl. lol

Best of luck with your budding surfer... :)
 

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Counter Surfing

Once started this behavior is VERY difficult to train out. I placed food tins around the counter with coins in them balanced around the edge. This must be done when you are present. When the tin falls you are able to give some negative reinforcement to back up the process. If your dog has been doing this for some time the positive behavioral reinforcement of the securing of the food will have instilled the behavior strongly. If you can't train it out then you must cease to leave food where it can be stolen.


This is the age when action should be taken.:angel2:


Yum.jpg
 

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Eric that is right around the age when I gave Javelin the penny treatment. And CB nature is full of one off learning experiences where a really strong startle or a food poisoning coupled to a taste aversive and warning colors teach an animal to not ever do the thing that resulted in the "punishment" again. I don't quite think of it as quick and dirty, but quick and really effective.
 

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Eating food from tables or counters is a problem that could do harm to your dog's health (if he eats something toxical to a dog) and form a bad habit— stealing food from groceries, restaurant, or garbage. So, I suggest you should train him to get rid of this behavior asap. I google around and find some useful methods, here are two examples:
1. providing alternatives such as chew bones during mealtime
2. using treats to teach your dog the 'leave it' command is useful for stopping table eating
The detailed steps are here: https://wagwalking.com/training/not-eat-from-the-table
What's more, you could train your dogs together, which can increase the training process. I train my older poodle based on the behavioral requirements for service dogs. I teach him not to jump to the table (under obedience commands) since he was a puppy. Then my younger dog will learn about the behaviors of the older pup, so I decrease much time to train the little one. :act-up::act-up:
 

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I have toy poodles one with long legs. I put appetizers on the coffee table (god ones with meat). I sit in my recliner and say loudly NO and hit the recliner with a flyswatter and that scares them from the noise. No is the first words I train, so I put food on the coffee table and when I come back they are setting and watching but do not jump up. I will attach a photo of what they do if I still have it
 

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guarding cookies.jpg
i have toy poodles one with long legs. I put appetizers on the coffee table (god ones with meat). I sit in my recliner and say loudly no and hit the recliner with a flyswatter and that scares them from the noise. No is the first words i train, so i put food on the coffee table and when i come back they are setting and watching but do not jump up. I will attach a photo of what they do if i still have it
 

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I recommend this kind of training.^ It is imperative you prevent this food stealing behavior. So while training is going on, if you need to crate your dog to have peace at meal time, so be it. Or use a baby gate to keep him out while you're cooking, do it. Don't try to train during real life situations at first. Get things going like shown in the video. In the meantime work on leaving it as a default behavior which will mean that it won't be a cued behavior. Any and all training requires work and absolute consistency. Good luck.


My Doberman use to do this and he got cured. I could never leave food on the counter though for a very long time. Finally he lost that habit because there were better ways of getting food. And it came from me and it came when he did some behavior I DID like...a history of reinforcement for certain other behaviors. He learned how to get food in an acceptable way. (obedience training)

But I let him watch me cook and he'd do this...press his nose against the counter when he wanted to tell me it was his dinner time. This was back when I lived in Idaho.
Wasn't he cute and funny?



My poodles can't reach the kitchen counters and so far they're good about leaving food alone on the coffee table.

You'll get there with your dog...and if you do it this way you don't have to be in the room in order to stop it. Punishment tends to connect to you . Stealing food is only dangerous when the human is in the room but safe when you're not...and so the behavior tends to continue unless you're right there. I like the idea that I can leave the room and the dogs don't think about stealing it. But when the stealing behavior has been paying off for a long time with your dog, it will take strict consistency from all family members to untrain that behavior. But you can do it for sure. :amen:
 

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I like to emphasize to the dog that it is much, much better to "take" something from my hand instead of helping himself to my dinner plate or kitchen counter. So a good "leave it" along with a default leave it is a very basic skill in their education. They can learn that by leaving something, they WILL get something and a better thing. And a "drop it" is also important in case they pick up something dangerous or otherwise something you don't want them to have. Matisse is very prompt with this. He has a history of being paid handsomely for dropping things when I ask. I only have to say it in a normal, friendly voice. And he drops it immediately every time. I no longer always have to give a reward other than praise but once in a while I do to keep him in the loop. When starting out, reward every time. Then when really good, fade the continual reinforcement. Hope that helps.
 
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Renn is a sock thief...Everyone in the house knows are are good at not leaving socks around. My one daughter would put them in her shoes for whatever reason. and he still would find them. In the past 2 days he had 2 more. I even put up a get on laundry room so he can't follow me in, as I now think that perhaps a sock is lost going in or o ur of washer n dryer. I don't think he has ev en been in there but the evidence says otherwise. He knows drop it/leave it and thats not a problem. The problem I have is I don't know when or where he is finding them. Driving me crazy so later today I am going to go buy several mesh laundry bags, everyone is getting one and that is where socks will go when not in drawer, that way they can be tossed is washer/dryer without falling out of some piece of clothing. I really am at wits end as I couldn't find where he finds them.
 

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I'm all about the well timed, appropriate correction. ie, the pennies in the can mentioned above. If done correctly, they will most likely never repeat the behavior.

As an example, when Dobby was about 8 months, he decided to lift his leg in my house on a pile of cardboard and plastic from some ikea furniture we were putting together. I caught him in the act with leg lifted. I swatted him on the butt, firmly said "no", then grabbed his collar and led him to the back door to finish going potty outside. He will be 2 in April, and he has NEVER lifted his leg in my house, or any other house since. It was literally the first and last time he ever did it.
 

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Absolutely, if you catch them in the act that is perfect solution and works quite well. I just never know when my boy finds a sock and he doesn't play with it just swallows it. If i see a sock in his mouth he will drop it on command but if I don't gulp n its gone..for awhile.
 

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Absolutely, if you catch them in the act that is perfect solution and works quite well. I just never know when my boy finds a sock and he doesn't play with it just swallows it. If i see a sock in his mouth he will drop it on command but if I don't gulp n its gone..for awhile.


Catching them in the act is definitely key. We also had a sock phase, which was not as quickly solved. I switched to covered laundry baskets and mesh bags. He seems to be over it now, thank goodness! I didn’t even realize he was doing it until he threw one up in his crate overnight.

The things we do....


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Catching them in the act is definitely key. We also had a sock phase, which was not as quickly solved. I switched to covered laundry baskets and mesh bags. He seems to be over it now, thank goodness! I didn’t even realize he was doing it until he threw one up in his crate overnight.

The things we do....


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You are so right, Renn is not one to throw up usually, then one day after he was still recovering from being neutered he did. I said Oh no there must be something wrong and it looked like a big cats hall..low & behold it was a sock, then it happened again. I went on a rampage yelling that don't leave socks about, then y daughter tucked them in her shoes on a bench , shoes stayed socks were gone but I only knew it when I found 2 socks in his crate that he there up. So we went about being even more careful. Still I was finding thrown up socks...I figure he must be grabbing from hamper or reaching into dryer as I'm folding so now he is off limits to the laundry room. Yesterday once again a sock so we are going to use the bags and no sock loose anywhere. I am at least glad he is throwing them up, it could be worse. I do hope he will grow out of it. He is very good now at not yours, leave it, drop it except I think he just pick up a sock and immediately swallows it. I'm off shopping today to find several of those mesh bags.
 
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