Gracie on Counter-Surfing
Us pooches are scavengers, born to scrounge and hunt for stray stuff left around. In a dog’s mind, unattended goodies are fair game; that’s just how we’re made, so unless you teach us otherwise, hunting for unburied treasure will stay posted high on our list of favorite past times.
Now some folks find our table-clearing antics amusing, cracking wise when we make off with some delectable morsel, or potential plaything. But truly, we’re not always too smart about what we take and what we do with it. We’ve been known to make off with mass quantities of contraband comestibles, which can cause anything from a mild tummy-ache to barfing and the runs; what a mess! Too much fatty food (my sister’s favorite cadge is a big hunk of butter!) can give us a sick pancreas (whatever that is), and sometimes other stuff we may THINK is food really isn’t, and that can be really bad news. Things you use to clean, kill bugs and clear the air can mean a trip to the vet if we get into it. Other stuff we steal and chew can make ‘obstructions’ the vet has to go fishing for; I understand this is quite unpleasant.My dopey brother Nicky surfed a plastic shaving thing once, which made Barbara quite agitated, since he ate most of it, including all the metal parts. The vet had to ‘unzip’ him and fish the parts out, and then Nicky had to stay in his crate and only eat boiled rice and cottage cheese for the longest time. There was a great big ‘vet bill’ too, whatever that was; it was a very upsetting time for everybody.
Most any of us dogs will scan the horizon looking for something, just anything. Finding fun stuff helps keep that good feeling going, and we might just keep coming back for more. But just one good score (ham sandwich, a roast beef, loaf of bread) will pretty much seal the deal and turn a casual shopper into a confirmed counter surfer.
So the best way to counter counter-surfing is to just keep the counters and table tops clear of anything we might be tempted to swipe. For sure that means food, and other stuff we might think is food (bowls of candy are my favorite!). Chocolate can make us sick, and grapes and raisins are even worse (we could die!). Put it all away or store it up way high out of reach, and that helps to keep us all safe.
To be extra safe, you could teach us a really good ‘leave it’, which is a great way to help a dog learn that grabbing unattended stuff isn’t a winning strategy (although once we score that first chicken leg, the more convincing it’s going to take!).
If you’ve got a confirmed counter cruiser in your family and are having trouble convincing him to quit, you can always call Barbara at 951-283-2101 for a customized program of counter-surfing counter measures to fit your family’s needs.