Keep your pup off the counter in a non forceful, gentle way! Without startling them.
To body block we want to walk in to the space our dog is occupying, and take it away from them because its not an appropriate spot for Fido. To do this we want to walk in to the space they are in on the counter, making it so they cant stay up there, but aren’t being pushed down or given any attention for jumping up on the counter. We want to just do this and keep moving or stay in the spot they were in if they try to get back up.
Teach them what to do instead!
You want to decide what you would like them doing whey are in the area they steal food from! This is very important, we can teach them we don't want them on the counters but if we don't show them what to do instead, they may revert back to the behaviour we don't want to see. We suggest a bed cue, see the crate training/bed cue blog. Every time Fido is in the area (lets say the kitchen for example) you want to ask Fido to go to his or her bed every time they are in the kitchen area. Make sure you have a cue to go on the bed and a cue for when they are allowed to come off the bed. We start with no to low distraction and move up to having this happen while we move around, handle food, cook etc.. to prevent this happening when we aren't there, we have some options. See below. Teaching this will over time show Fido the counter in=s non rewarding and the bed is the place to be, which will help them to no longer choose to surf the counter, even when we aren't looking. It is also important that we do set ups, where there is the option to counter surf when we aren't in the room, but we catch them mid surf, body block away, ask Fido to go on their bed, and them that is how they get rewards!
Maintenance and prevention
In order to ensure that Fido isn’t practicing that jumping behaviour when we aren't there, we need to block off the counters they are jumping on, so they cant be in the kitchen when we aren’t there. If that is not possible, we want it ensure there is nothing they can get on the counter. Making it very non rewarding to go up there. Secondly, we cant have anything rewarding waiting on the counters in the event of Fido getting up there, we want to be sure that there is no way for Fido to self reward. For making sure this behaviour lasts, and is solid even when we aren’t there, we need to always body block the dogs away from the counter, make the rule that they have to be farther then one meter away from the counters at all times and work up to that distance by body blocking them, and then teaching them to back up, this is done by popping a treat in Fido's mouth and then gently walking toward Fido's face and moving them back gently as they eat. When body blocking and teaching back up, we don’t want to make contact with our dogs, just take their space, not push them, knee them or anything like that.
To do the leave it we start with a treat in our closed fist, we present the fist of food to Fido and ask for a leave it, when fido stops bugging at your hand even just for a second, they get that treat. We want to teach them to wait until we have said take it, by saying take it as we allow them to eat the treat after they have backed off. When they are solidly moving their head away, or just jot even going for the closed fist at all, we can start to expect eye contact before fido gets the treat, we do this by making a small noise to prompt fido to look at our eyes, when fido does, we want to say they can take the food from our hand. After the eye contact is solid after every leave it from a closed fist, you can do the same with an open fist, avoid moving the hand away if fido goes to take the food early, just close your fist, but ask for the same leave it and wait for fido to back off from the open hand, and the say they can take it, once they are doing well with that, we can again expect that eye contact, and then practice from there, moving to items on the floor, and counter, to items we have dropped, for help with the later stages, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org