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Monday, June 20, 2011

Counter Surfing

Emma posing for the camera

Before I begin this article I want to thank all of my readers and friends who kept up with the Steeler kennel saga and sent their well wishes. It meant a lot to me to know that he touches so many people daily, at least enough to make you angry at what happened to him. Know that at this time he seems to be doing fine, but with a little less hair!   

Counter Surfing

 If you don’t know big dogs, you may not be familiar with the term counter surfing, but any size dog can do it, the smaller ones just need an aid to get up to the counter whereas the larger dogs see the counter top as a wonderful chin rest invented by humans which allows them to suck down all treats the counter top can embrace! It’s like one big doggie dish!

Come on, do you really think your bread is safe in that counter top bread box? Think again! Bread is the number one delectable on a counter top for a dog!  Minus that pesky plastic bag of course! 

As humans, when we catch the dog on the counter we usually yell, “No!”  That works possibly for that second, but they’re smart enough to know the minute you leave the room and they are back at it again!

When it comes to dog training, and yes I too am guilty, I find that the word NO comes out of the human’s mouth much like other nasty bodily functions and with the same bad timing and results!

My girl Abby once flipped her lid suddenly at the age of five years old and grabbed a tasty breakfast roll off the counter top which lead her down the path to a nasty habit, one roll and she was addicted to counter surfing like a moth is drawn to light!

Oh Sally so what? What’s a little piece of bread now and then? Where’s the harm? 

Well if you grew up like I did where a piece of toasted raisin bread was your weekly snack or if you’re a fresh fruit hog and keep a bowl of fruit on the counter (namely grapes), such an innocent swipe of a counter top can turn into something deadly because of the toxicity fruits such as grapes and raisins carry for dogs. No one really knows how many of each it takes to kill your dog, nor do they know for sure what is in them that cause such a deadly reaction.  So, always better safe than sorry.

If your dog is a counter surfer and you have not been able to curb that habit because lets face it you can’t watch the dog 24 hours a day, take heart in the fact that there are a few ingenious products to keep your counter safe from the long lap of a wet tongue. Thank God for all things sensor activated!  Who developed the sensor anyway?

The first item I will mention is what I used for Abby. I did not go out and buy this for counter surfing, rather I happened to have purchased it years before from an  ‘As Seen  on TV’ store  and it was actually a product made to alert you when someone pulled in the driveway. It made a loud siren type noise, but since it went off constantly due to every bird or squirrel that crossed its path the family went nuts and boycotted it!   So it was put into a junk draw for no other reason than I had just spent 20 bucks on it and I’ll be damned if I was going to throw it out!  

So when Abby spazzed out and made her first few counter top surfs while I was at work I broke out the hard core driveway alarm.  I actually set her up by purposely leaving a roll on the counter and then went out the back door around to the kitchen window to lay in wait as a fox watches the hen house.

Abby looked at the door, gave a bark or two, nudged Emma as if she were the partner in crime, eyeballed the roll on the counter, looked back at the door, and then went for it!  Eee, aww! Eee, aww! Eee, aww!  Went the alarm and Abby bolted for the gated doorway so fast she tripped over her cohort Emma! Success!   That was that, the end of counter surfing, the end of even going near the counter top for a long, long time!  So if that annoying driveway buzzer is driving your family nuts, try it as a deterrent to places where you don’t want the family dog!

Another product is the scat mat. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this one before although I have never used it. So far, my dogs have been sound sensitive inside the home. The Scat mat puts out a little shock when the animal steps on it. This can be laid on the floor in front of the counter or on the counter itself should Fido be one who uses a chair to reach the goodies. Test it first to be sure it’s working and that the shock is not too much for the dog. Hubby is a good one to test it on, providing he doesn’t wear a pace maker!

There are also alarms made specifically for counters and tables, similar to my driveway alarm but possibly not as loud.

There are spray devices also that are run by sensor and emit a spray when activated.

 Driveway patrol

Keep in mind that dogs differ, while some of my dogs are bothered by sound, some are not and you have to find what works best for your dog. Also know that you are trying to keep the dog safe from harm.  Many times humans leave dangerous items on counter tops without thinking so if an alarm or a slight shock, even though it may be scary for the dog,  will stop a dog from getting into something harmful it’s worth it in the long run.

And hey, here’s a sick but fun suggestion. Even if the sound alone works on the dog, get the shock items too and dream of the fun you can have using it on the husband or kids!

Ever crawl into a bed that has a scat mat under the cover? ;)

Until next time, happy training!  


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