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How to Stop a Dog from Jumping on a Counter

Small black and tan dog sitting on counter top

The term ‘Counter Surfing’ refers to an annoying habit of domestic dogs, which is jumping on counters. Canines do that often in an attempt to steal food, and every dog owner would have observed it many times. This behavior is particularly common in smaller dogs because larger breeds can get what they want by simply propping their legs on the counter. Keep reading to know how to stop a dog from jumping on a counter.

Why Does My Dog Keep Jumping on a Counter?

Other than their love for food, dogs jump on a counter for the following reasons.

Easily Accessible

According to Rover, the easy accessibility of food is the biggest incentive for dogs to go counter surfing. All they need to do is to jump on the counter and the food is theirs. Therefore, it’s quite obvious that your canine companion won’t need a second invitation to climb on your kitchen counter.

Unintentional Behavioral Reinforcement

Do you always leave food out in the open? If your answer is yes, you are indirectly encouraging your dog to get the food from the counter. If your dog has managed to ‘steal’ some food from a counter in the past, it may become his/her habit to jump on that counter. This means that you should never leave unattended food in your kitchen.

Scavenger Behavior

Shaggy dog trying to eat roasted chicken off of kitchen counter

K9 of Mine explains that dogs are born scavengers and it’s in their DNA to steal your food. In fact, some researches show that humans domesticated canines because they stayed around houses, looking for food scraps.

Your Dog Wants Attention

In some cases, your dog may start jumping on a counter when he/she needs your attention. This means that your pup can jump on a counter even if there’s no food on it. In this situation, you must ignore your pooch. Any kind of response, even a stare of disapproval, can reinforce the negative behavior.  

A Better View

Dogs like to perch on things to get a better view of their surroundings. This behavior is more common in smaller dogs because their view is limited. If your dog is using your kitchen counter as a perch, you will train him/her to curb this behavior. One way of doing that is to give him/her a treat whenever he/she jumps on an appropriate object.

What Can I Do to Stop My Dog from Jumping on a Counter?

Backside lower body view of a person standing up to a counter with dogs laying on a checkerboard floor

If you are a new owner, you may find it cute if your dog jumps the kitchen counter. However, it will quickly become frustrating because your excited dog will knock over things on the counter. Read on to find out how you can stop a dog from jumping on a counter.

Keep Your Counters Clear

The easiest way to solve any problem is to eliminate it from the roots. Best Friends explains that keeping your countertops empty is the ultimate solution, especially when you are going away. When your pup won’t find anything interesting on the counter, he/she will be discouraged to jump on it.

Use Dog Toys and Puzzles

Beagle running through kitchen with a ball and rope toy

Do you want to keep your dog occupied throughout the day? It’s always a good idea to invest in some dog toys and puzzles. Other than keeping your pup busy, dog puzzles are an excellent method to boost your dog’s cognition.

Some puzzles give owners the option to hide treats in them. This makes your dog feel rewarded for solving them. A busy dog is more likely to stay away from counters.

Provide Sufficient Exercise

Some dog breeds need more exercise than others. If your pooch is not getting sufficient exercise, he/she will start looking for some activity to spend the excess energy. Consequently, an inactive dog may become chaotic and will start running all around the home.

An overexcited dog can also indulge in negative behavior, like breaking things around the house. If your dog is over-excited and is jumping from counter to counter, try taking him/her out for a walk.

Double-Check the Cause

2 cats standing on the kitchen counter

Sometimes, your dog may not be at fault for jumping on counters. If you have other pets or kids in the house, they can force your dog to jump on counters. Other pets, especially cats, can be mischievous and will make your canine companion anxious. If that’s the case, make sure to give your pup some private space.

However, if your dog seems distressed for no apparent reason, consult a dog behavior specialist. It’s highly recommended to handle these problems at an early stage because it’s hard to change the habits of an adult dog.

Crate or Leash Your Dog

If your dog is jumping on counters for fun, you can put him/her in a crate. Alternatively, you can use a leash to control your furry companion. This will prevent your dog from causing any chaos, and it may also discourage your dog from jumping on counters.

However, Preventive Vet stresses the owners to avoid harsh behavior with their dogs. Punish your canine is never a good idea because it will worsen the situation. Instead, treat them with patience and give them treats whenever they behave well.

Make Countertops Uncomfortable

You can use Aluminum foil to stop a dog from jumping on a counter because canines hate to walk on it. Simply, place a sheet or two on your countertop and your pup won’t even try to come there. Alternatively, you can place spiky mats on your counters to keep them safe from your pet. However, do not place anything on the counter that may hurt your dog.

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