I was a late bloomer when it comes to counter surfing! Can you believe I was almost 4 before my first attempt! It was a miserable failure – mom went to the garage and left an uncooked quiche on the counter because the oven was still heating, so I nabbed it. What a mess (it was before my blog so no photos)! The cabinets, floor and me were covered in the raw mixture, which incidentally was tasty, and when mom returned less than 30 seconds later I was caught red pawed! It was ugly in so many ways and that is when I realized that if I stand on my back paws I can counter surf but I need a better technique. I have really perfected the art now and I wanted to share my tips in 3 Monday posts starting today with Beginner Counter Surfing 101. Even if you are an adept counter surfer there is always something more to learn, so take a good read of this post and remember:
The secret to successful counter surfing lies in your ability to properly portray your innocence.
***A side note to all levels of counter surfing is that if you live in a multi-pet household, it becomes much easier to get away with crimes but I will get into setting up the cat or other pets to take the fall as well as how to use them to your advantage in the 2 more advanced lessons.
Patience really is the key to success, it takes a lot of time to convince your human that you are a perfect dog that would never steal from the counter or the dinner table. You have to actually forego those tasty food items for a bit until you human is convinced of your good behavior. It will be torture but get yourself right in the middle of the food either in the kitchen or at the table and just sit or lie down and act as if there is nothing that you would be interested in eating. Sometimes your human may even reward you for being such a good dog! Heavens, I had been such a good girl for almost 4 years, mom trusted me completely until I tried my paws at counter surfing with the quiche, very bad, no backup plan and I started way too big. You have to be patient and start small because once you are caught you have to start the process all over again and it is much more difficult!
One way to learn the art of sneakiness is to get into the garbage. If it is left out and your human leaves the kitchen for a short time, stick your head in there and steal anything that looks tasty, eat it quickly and then resume your innocent pose either sitting or lying down. Normally a human never notices a piece of missing garbage. This exercise works on your “grab and return to pose in a speedy manner” technique.
Once you have that innocence thing down and you have successfully stolen from the trash a few times you can advance to simple counter surfing such as stealing a piece of bread. When your human leaves for a few moments, reach up, take a bite and then immediately assume your innocent sit or lying down pose. When the human returns they will wonder who could have taken the bite out of the bread, certainly not that innocent dog!
Believe me I know, you want to go for that 20 lb turkey right off the bat but you have to start slow and small or it will take even longer to finally get that big item off the counter successfully!
See you next week for Intermediate Counter Surfing 201 where we will move on to bigger and tastier jobs as well as adding another household pet if you have one. In the meantime continue to work on your beginning technique exercises.