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.
I’m in the Monday Mischief blog hop brought to you by Alfie’s Blog, Snoopy’s Dog Blog, My Brown Newfies and Luna, A Dog’s Life
Caren, Dakota and Cody says
these are super great tips my friend, but I am afraid I can’t put them into practice. We have a super small kitchen, Mom keeps a baby gate on it cause she feeds Cody in there. Do you believe I have NO access to counters or garbage cans, or the KITCHEN? Nope! I don’t. I will show this to my kitty brother, Cody, he is an EXPERT “counter surfer” and I am sure would like to hone his skills! Barks and licks and love, Dakota
You actually have the pawfect set up, cos once you manage to scale the baby gate you can take whatever you like and you’ll never be suspected! Tee Hee
Your pal Snoopy 🙂
Wow! Excellent point!
You need to tune into my next two Monday classes. I will get into detail about how to use the cat to your advantage and let him take the fall as well. My cat Bert and I are a great team! In the meantime, can’t you learn to jump the gate?
I can’t wait to put these tips into action – I am particularly looking forward to the ‘letting your brother take the fall’ section!
SUGAR: Golden Woofs says
OH Emma. I’ve tried that and no Golden Luck for me. Mom learned not to leave delish tasty stuffs close to the end of the counter. Kitchen trash? i don’t even no where it is, mom is so good on hiding stuff from me. Well lucky you … Have a Happy Monday and looking forward on our 102 lesson. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar
Just a tip, you may want to get yourself a cat for your issues…I will be explaining how to use a cat to your advantage the next two weeks 😉 Our garbage is usually in the cupboard but sometimes mom as it out and actually turns her back for a second, that is when I make my slick move! Happy Mischief Monday!
Alfie Entlebucher (@AlfieEntle) says
Rooo Emma – I’m the king of counter surfing. I have one little tip you might want to add to your course – never ever steal anything that looks like raisins – you will end up in hospital like I did when I stole a bag full of cookies full of raisins and sultanas! *Waggy tail*
Oh my, no stealing bad stuff, very good point! Thanks!
Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom says
Oh Emma, counter surfing is so much fun according to Boomer and Dottie. Remember these stories?
I do remember…it is really a great hobby, counter surfing, if done correctly!
Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom says
Yes, yes it is, as long as it’s something that’s not bad for you like chocolate!
Oh man, you may have blossomed late at counter surfing, but now you are a pro! Charley can bend his way into the sink and lick dirty plates and utensils!
My sister is super tall so she could really “clean up” the counter too but she is too good for that…grrr…
SlimDoggy (@MySlimDoggy) says
Oh Emma, School is IN SESSION….I am all ears!
Lots to learn and adding in a second pet in the next sessions will really be useful, especially for short or small dogs!
Ellen Shedlarx says
Oh Emma, you are just too cute! Be careful what you eat especially bones!
We don’t have much with bones around the kitchen and if mom does have ribs or chicken or something she takes them out to the garage right away so they don’t smell.
Oz the Terrier says
These are great instructions. It is just a shame that I am too short to reach the counter…or the table. BOL
Don’t worry, I have some options coming up for short/small dogs…if you don’t have one, get a cat…they can be really useful as I will explain!
This is such a great, and valuable class you’re teaching buddy! The innocent look really is super important!
I’m only 3, so I guess I’ve got another year before I get started, though I was looking around the outdoor table with food on this weekend at the pawty, Mum didn’t even imagine I would take anything, cos I’ve got her convinced I’m a good doggie! It was all going great until the wind blew the table cloth at me and I got scared – doh!
I look forward to the advanced class, maybe some suggestion as to how I could blame the snake? as I don’t have a cat or other dog in the house, otherwise I’ll just have to wait until the doggie houseguests come back!
Wags to all,
Your pal Snoopy 🙂
Cats are super useful, maybe find one of those and they are fun to chase around the house too! If no cat, they wait for your guests to come by or maybe some mini humans…
Will and Eko says
Uh oh, now you have me worried – I thought Eko was beyond the puppy counter surfing stage, but maybe he is just laying in wait until the moment is right to strike. Gotta keep an eye on that one…
He may have sized up the situation and be in the plotting and scheming stage…make sure he reads my posts 😉
Peggy's Pet Place says
I do believe you’ve got it down! Kelly can’t reach the counter, so I think I’m safe!
I did not think I could either, but even if she is a bit short I will have some tips next week 😉
Sue at Talking Dogs says
Jeffie, Rudy, and Rosie don’t even know what counter surfing is, so I’m not letting them anywhere near your blog!! :-0
Oh man! What kind of a party pooper dog mom are you…it is a sport, maybe even an Olympic sport some day. FYI, mom thought I did not know about counter surfing until that dreadful quiche incident 😉
Emma I am taking careful notes…You are doing all dogdom a favor with this fantastic series…Thank you!
We canines have to stick together and share our knowledge!
Dogs N Pawz says
You are so smart Emma! We just grab and run…or should I say, Phe just grabs and runs. We get her leftovers! Things are much more exciting at our house since she moved in!
No kidding! I think mom would lose her mind!
Coralee and Finn says
Wow, you are so clever, Emma! My mom thought she was done with the counter surfing debacles when she got a dog who is only a foot tall (me). But I showed her! I have ingeniously figured out how to get on the kitchen table! She has only caught me once, and boy, was she surprised! Bol!!!
Nice work…next step, the kitchen counter!
Jackie Bouchard says
Rita definitely needed this primer. She rarely surfs, and only when meat is involved. She wouldn’t have spent any time on bread, but if you say that’s a gateway to bigger and better surfing, I’ll let her know.
You have to start slow and small and work up to something like the Thanksgiving turkey 😉
Jan K says
Emma, our Mom and Dad are so diligent about not leaving things on the edge of the counter, and not leaving the trash where we can get at it! The trash can has a heavy wooden lid! However, we do have cats who can get on the counter, so we look forward to the next lesson so we can figure out how we can get away with this! Once in a while we do get lucky if the parents eat someplace like the office, or the living room, where the tables are lower….Kobi once got a whole sandwich that way, because Mom left the room trusting him! However, she hasn’t forgotten that now. Looking forward to lesson 2!
Love, Kobi, Cricket, Sheba and Moses from Wag ‘N Woof Pets
If you have a cat you are in good shape and since you have several pets, there are lots of options! Never fear, you will score something good after my next post or two 🙂
Heart Like A Dog (@HeartLikeADog) says
Oh Emma, I wish Delilah took lessons from you. She sticks her head in the garbage the same time I’m putting my hand in there. She has no subtlety.
She needs to learn patience…I seem to have learned that from my cats…the timing is everything!
Me and Nellie are experts at counter surfing. Our noses are just the right height to be able to sniff all those tasty treats left on the bench. For some reason, especially after the four steaks incident, family do not trust Me in the kitchen. They say something about being a bad dog and to get out. Me and Nellie take no notice of them. After all are We not the bestest maremmas in all the land. Love Nellie and Jasper.
My sister is tall enough to see on the counter and grab stuff but she is too nice to steal, so I have to handle that on my own 😉
Brilliant lesson, Emma. I have kitties that I could set up no problem, but unfortunately I am not tall enough to reach the counters! I did have the garbage picking down to science & do you wanna know that THEY did?? Got lids on all of the garbage cans! What’s a dog to do…sigh.
Hey Emma, I don’t think that you have ever been featured on Pet Blogs United, would you like to be? We’d love to have you be our Weekly Featured Blogger. If you’re interested contact us at PBU at comcast dot net.
I did email about that a month or so ago and you said you would be in contact with me but I haven’t heard anything since…I will dig up that email and send you that chain. 🙂 Thanks!
Great post Emma.
This is the point where Toby often fails. “Patience really is the key to success,”
He just can’t forgo the goodies with the hope of getting more down the road. He’d rather steal when the opportunity presents itself, but as you know, that makes us more alert and gives US the opportunity to thwart him. 🙂
Oh boy…he is going to have trouble becoming a master at it if he doesn’t learn to wait!
Your trash can approach looks pretty solid. My dog would raise the lid, then knock the can on its side for easier access. Caught every time. 🙂 Finally had to make it inaccessible.
Ours is usually in the cupboard but sometimes mom has it out when she is cooking and she will leave it unattended for very short periods of time 😉
Texas, a cat in New York says
“setting up the cat or other pets to take the fall”
Ah! We kitties can claim it loud enough! It is always the dog that commits the mischief! Yeah, even in no-doggie houses.
I think not, kitties…in my house the bad apple is my cat bro Bert…my cat sis is an angel type.
Emma, these are the best tips ever! Leroy needs to learn to use a towel to wipe his slobber off the counter after he’s been up there!
Oh boy, that would really be bad to leave such obvious evidence. Not being a slobberer I did not think about that!
Great tips Ems!
OMD Em, that was brilliant, I have just tried it with Alfie’s food bowl, they keep it up on the top, I managed to get a gobb full of biskuit’z before Humom chased me off.. Can’t wait till next week 🙂 xx00xxx
Mollie and Alfie
LOL Emma, you are one smart doggie. I don’t plan to let brown dawgs read this post…ever!
Oh, poor dogs…isn’t that censorship??? I think they should read it 😉
Pixel Blue Eyes (@pixelblueeyes) says
You are my hero Emma, BOL!!! I LOVED this blog post. Now, you and I are of the same mind my dear friend, for I have been working on my own technique. However mine is different. I have trained Mommy to let me sit on her lap sometimes at the table while I “sleep” on her lap, ignoring all the food nearby on her plate. She “trusts” that I don’t care, when in reality, I am just watching, learning, honing my skill for the time when the sweet potatoes are closest to the plate edge near me. Then…..CHOMP!!!
Heeheee, gets her every time. 😛
I love that “chomp”! Everyone needs their own technique but patience is definitely the key. Maybe you picked that up from your cat too?
Thanks for the lesson, Emma! I like your tip about lulling your parents in a false sense of innocence and trustability. I’m going to try that.
That is super important…it will help keep them from thinking of you as a suspect!