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Brady's become something of a countersurfer and its nothing short of annoying, but I've been working on it with him. It's gotten a LITTLE bit better, but with him you have to kind of...explain WHY you want him to make a certain choice and then let him either make the right choice or the wrong choice, otherwise you might as well forget it since he can be SO stubborn. I don't have a problem with where we're at right now, I really don't, but my mom (who I'm living with) does. And tonight she got really fed up with it and threatened to kick him, and she wasn't kidding. I was half terrified that it was going to happen right then and there, thank god it didn't. It's not the first time she's threatened violence towards him or the first time she HAS been physically aggressive with him--she's kicked him before when he stood up for himself against her chihuahua (who is a jerk, by the way, and deserved what he got). And I'm absolutely frustrated with it. I don't really have a choice in moving out since this is kind of my only option right now and I've tried talking to her but she just doesn't listen.

 

I got a trainer like she demanded, but the trainer has said over and over and over again: he's well trained, he's just a baby. All she did, essentially, was fine tune some of the techniques I had been using and spent the rest of the time with the chihuahua, trying to fix his MANY, MANY issues (how funny since it's supposedly MY dog that's the issue).

 

Anyway, I was just wondering what you guys would do in the situation and, essentially, how can you train a PERSON to be more understanding towards standard puppy behavior?

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How old is Brady? And can you keep him out of the kitchen or put him in a crate while you are not there? Do you correct him when he is caught countersurfing?

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He's seven months old and he does get corrected, he just likes to trying and sneak to test his boundaries--I think he's entering that teenager phase. He's crated whenever I'm not home since they treat him more like a novelty or a chore than an actual puppy, and our kitchen combines with our dining room/den so there's no way to gate it. ]:

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What about creating an invisible line that he cannot cross? He sounds like a smart boy and would probably enjoy it as another training activity. Our kitchen is right up against our great room and my 3 all know that when I say "git" it means no one is aloud past the invisible line aka... past the fridge and beginning of the kitchen counters. Boundaries seem to me to be something that comes naturally to dogs so the "explaining why" he needs to stay out when you say so (or all the time) to him might not be as difficult as the counter surfing conundrum. Once he gets it down you can teach your mother the command and instead of yelling or kicking him she can say the command for him to get out. "Let's do this," is always and easier transition for stubborn puppy brains than "NO, you can't do what you want." It will redirect your pups brain into thinking and redirect your mother's brain into being in control. (No need to kick when you are in complete control.) :)

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What about creating an invisible line that he cannot cross? He sounds like a smart boy and would probably enjoy it as another training activity. Our kitchen is right up against our great room and my 3 all know that when I say "git" it means no one is aloud past the invisible line aka... past the fridge and beginning of the kitchen counters. Boundaries seem to me to be something that comes naturally to dogs so the "explaining why" he needs to stay out when you say so (or all the time) to him might not be as difficult as the counter surfing conundrum. Once he gets it down you can teach your mother the command and instead of yelling or kicking him she can say the command for him to get out. "Let's do this," is always and easier transition for stubborn puppy brains than "NO, you can't do what you want." It will redirect your pups brain into thinking and redirect your mother's brain into being in control. (No need to kick when you are in complete control.) :)

 

How do you do this with a larger area? I was able to do invisible lines with areas such as hallways or behind the counters but have been unsuccessful with larger areas where body blocking isn't simple; Like Brady's Mom my kitchen, dining room, and family room is all one large area, I can not figure out for the life of me how to make him understand the imaginary boundary between the family room and the kitchen/dining room.

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I'd have to agree with training the "invisible line". My dogs know "go", "git", and "out". It works well for other things like a round of fun cow chasing ( :angry: ). A loud "git out!" turns their tails homeward immediately. :P It also comes in handy for cleaning and when guests come over. We only have a one bedroom apartment at the moment and it's been fun to train variations with the do not cross line. For instance, when cleaning I say go bed, and they both mosey on into the bedroom and hang out until told to come out. Go is also used at the dinner table when they decide it's okay in their minds to sit and stare at yummy food. All three mean practically the same thing, it's just a word or pointing in a certain direction that means different things to them.

 

Oi. Hope that all makes sense! Brains foggy with the onset of sickness. :(

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IMHO, it is near-impossible to gradually teach a dog NOT todo something. Every time Brady has a win (by successfully counter surfing), youare back to square 1. The only way to teach him, is to stop him every time(preferably, before he even starts). That means constant supervision whenever Bradyhas access to the kitchen; in fact, I would suggest he should be physicallyattached to you by his lead, unless he is in his crate or in another part ofthe house (your bedroom?) shut away from the kitchen with you. When you go intothe kitchen, take him with you on lead, stop him from counter-surfing andreward him for looking at you, rather than at the counters. At this stage, Iwouldn’t bother correcting him – it’s your error, not his, if he has anopportunity to counter-surf. He should only be allowed in the kitchen off-leadwhen he is totally reliable on-lead. He may be a baby (although I think 7months is more akin to a 10 year old child), but I followed basically the samerules with my human babies – they were supervised until I knew they could safelybe left unsupervised. (And, remember, counter-surfing is a safety risk forhim... think 2kg chocolate Easter eggs, glass jars, saucepans of boiling wateror hot fat!)

 

At the same time, boundary train him... When you relax thesupervision (some months away yet!) see if you can get one of those devices(sometimes available as children’s toys or as garden ornaments) that use aninfrared beam with an alarm when the beam is broken. Set that up at theentrance to the kitchen.

 

Also teach him the command, “leave it”. It may save hislife. (Hot coffee? “Leave it!”; Possible bait? “Leave it!”; Rattlesnake? “Leaveit!”; Angry Rottweiler? “Leave it!”; Annoying Chihuahua? “Leave it!”)

 

To teach “leave it”, start with him on lead and walk himpast low value “temptation” (perhaps a plate of vegetables) on a chair or coffeetable. Reward him for ignoring it. Gradually increase the value of the “temptation”,and switch to intermittent rewards. Alternatively, look at the method forteaching Zen Stays, in the book, “So Your Dog’s Not Lassie” – this can beadapted for teaching “Leave it.” (Sorry, I can’t remember the name of theauthor of the book – can anybody else help?)

 

Finally, teach him a 100% reliable, prompt “down”, then letyour mother start giving the command, with you there to provide support. Onceshe has some control over him, she may feel less frustrated. (No, I am not excusing kicking dogs - that is NEVER acceptable!)

 

 

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Dear Doggers,

Maybe by the time your Border Collie is 10 you can park the freshly cooked roast on the counter and leave home for a couple hours. Probably wiser to turn off the oven and close the door. That said, you do have a right to rarify counter surfing. Fortunately, there is a tried and true remedy.

 

Go into your recycling bin for many empty tin cans. Make a couple pyramids on the counter flanking the dog desirable snack, leave the room and watch TV. Dog sneaks off. CRASH Ignore the dog trying desperately to get into your lap (Don't reassure the poor baby) gather the cans and return them to the recyling bin. If, a week or so later, the dog tries again, repeat. Should only take twice. Might take once. They aren't stupid.

 

Donald McCaig

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I love the idea of the tins, Mr McCaig... and it would work even better on the cats!

 

One other tip... if I have to leave food out of the fridge or the oven for a little while (e.g. if the phone rings when I've just served my dinner)... I store it in the microwave. I've never yet met a dog (or cat), that can open the microwave door!

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If your kitchen has a different type of floor... The dogs can learn not to touch it. One thing that help out was the dogs learning not to take unless given. If its on MINE plate: you better not try to grab the food off. Wether its in my lab or on the table in the other room its MINE. For the most part I just don't leave stuff on the counter. And it seem to be the best method. ;)

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Brady's Mom, I'm really sorry that your mom is being so disagreeable about Brady. It must make for some really tense situations.

 

That being said, regarding the invisible boundary that Sweet Ceana sugguested, I agree. Is it possible to put something on the floor so Brady has a visible reference while you train him? When I moved into my new house I chose to keep Lewie out of the kitchen. It just makes life a little easier for me. I have a tiled kitchen floor adjacent to carpet. He knows he may not enter the tiled area.

 

Perhaps you could put something unobtrusive to people on the floor to define the "line", like a long training lead, until he understands exactly where his boundary is. I bet it won't take him long to get it. Use your body to block him and push him back out of the kitchen when he crosses the line. No need to shout or scold, just simply walk toward him while giving him a key word to reinforce the action. And of course, reward him as soon as all fours are past the line.

 

Now, if you could just train your mother. :P

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Re-reading my previous post - I think I have been ambiguous. I'm not saying you can't teach Brady not to counter-surf. Of course you can. I'm saying that you can only teach him with close supervision during training, so that he does not have opportunities to successfully counter-surf. This gets easier over time; you'll probably develop a "sixth sense", so that you know what he's about to do, without consciously thinking about it. And, if he never wins (and probably after he has a few startling corrections!), he'll get to the stage where he wouldn't even think of stealing food - even a plate of Colonel Sanders that's been left on the coffee table.

 

And, for those occasions when you get distracted (which happens to all of us), the rest of your family can help by not leaving food lying within reach.

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One other tip... if I have to leave food out of the fridge or the oven for a little while (e.g. if the phone rings when I've just served my dinner)... I store it in the microwave. I've never yet met a dog (or cat), that can open the microwave door!

 

This is a good tip UNLESS one FORGETS to take food out of the microwave and store it in the fridge. DH and I often serve ourselves dinner and then move into another room to eat. We "temporarily" place the extra food in the microwave until dinner is over. (This is to keep the cat away from the food, not a dog.) More times than I can count, we forget that the food is in the microwave until we open it the next morning, noon or night. Sigh, another roast chicken for the dogs. :lol::lol:

 

Yes, I wish I knew how to train myself better.

 

Jovi

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Dear Doggers,

Maybe by the time your Border Collie is 10 you can park the freshly cooked roast on the counter and leave home for a couple hours. Probably wiser to turn off the oven and close the door. That said, you do have a right to rarify counter surfing. Fortunately, there is a tried and true remedy.

 

I'd like to say that my dogs (ages 4,2,and 1) are well enough trained that if I were to leave food on the counter, whether it be a roast, cake, or whatever else I'm making, they would not touch it. (And I'm talking no matter if I'm home or not) I train all of my pups "leave it". It is one of the first commands they learn to master. I do not train with common things like doggie treats but with real delicious and great smelling food like bacon or a piece of roast. Makes the training even more interesting. :)

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I'd like to say that my dogs (ages 4,2,and 1) are well enough trained that if I were to leave food on the counter, whether it be a roast, cake, or whatever else I'm making, they would not touch it. (And I'm talking no matter if I'm home or not) I train all of my pups "leave it". It is one of the first commands they learn to master. I do not train with common things like doggie treats but with real delicious and great smelling food like bacon or a piece of roast. Makes the training even more interesting. :)

 

I used to have a dog like this. Totally reliable in any situation. Just left things alone. It was awesome. Then at age 11 she figured out that she could and that is was very rewarding. Sigh.

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Thank you all so much for your advice! I think I'm going to use the tin method paired with boundary training. I was thinking about using a lead or a jump rope to give him a physical boundary at first. Hopefully with a clicker it won't take him too long to figure out. =D He already has a solid leave it on him, but it hasn't really helped to solve his counter surfing issue. :/ But I think that all your guys' advice will help to get him to stop.

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We NEVER had a problem till I started feeding raw. After that Mick thought all meat might be meant for him. He will not counter surf for other food stuffs, just raw meat. Then he looks at you like..."what, I was just taking the chore out of your hands Mom..."

None of my other dogs do this.

 

One night I left bout a half glass of milk on the coffee table. I heard some licking so got up to catch the culprit. There he was half on the couch and half on the coffee table. Again he had not an ounce of quilt on his face. HE didn't even spill or tip the glass. He gave me a look like he thought it was his and had no idea why I came flailing down the hall. But he is a very strange dog. One that never beggs even from across the room till he decides that what ever I'm eating must be for him then he'll be at my leggs dripping drool all over the place. But that's a rare occasion. He's so strange that I could leave a half eaten hamburger on the seat of my car with him sitting in the other seat. The dogs don't eat in the car. He wouldn't eat that burger even if I put his name on it and offered it to him. WE DON'T EAT IN THE CAR. Or at least that's what he thinks!

 

I like the tin can idea or mouse traps covered with a kitchen towel. It worked for DD's dog to curb trash digging.

 

I used to set food on top the microwave never thought of putting it in the microwave, but I'd probably foget too! Now I just scoot it way back on the counter and that seems to do the trick.

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Dear Doggers,

Ms. Bullet writes,

 

"I'd like to say that my dogs (ages 4,2,and 1) are well enough trained that if I were to leave food on the counter, whether it be a roast, cake, or whatever else I'm making, they would not touch it. (And I'm talking no matter if I'm home or not)"

 

Never say never.

 

I hope you're right but I'd bet you're not. The canine food baseline is - more or less - that this the leader's food and this is my food and this food belongs to any dog clever enough to take it.

 

I've a friend whose daddy was a professional hunting dog trainer and my friend is a pet dog trainer. Tens of thousands of dogs later, he's as good as trainers get. His demo dog, Spike, was on National TV and was flown across the country to do Pet Smart demos. One day when Spike was ten, he got onto the counter and ate - not food - but all the dog meds. He opened the vials and emptied them.

 

In my experience, if I drop a pill on the floor, the dogs take a sniff and ignore it.

 

I don't know why Spike did what he did. He was the best trained and most reliable of dogs and they weren't a roast, they were MEDS. I do know he almost died.

 

Donald McCaig

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All this time I've just thought, the BCs are naturally so earnest, well-behaving and smart dogs, they wouldn't lower themselves into stealing food from the tables or counters, since I haven't ever even thought having to train them not to do it.

 

Mine(3) have so far never showed any interest in this kind of behavior. Even their dog food sacks are easily accessable for them on the floor and they ignore them totally. Used to be same way with my house cats, too, when I had them.

But like it was mentioned here already "never say never", so maybe my new puppy will teach me a lesson here.

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Fortunately my dogs don't seem to think the counter is a place to go for food (or maybe the counters are plenty tall and the hardwood floors too slick to make climbing or jumping easy (thank doG they're not a giant breed!). I don't as a habit leave food out anyway, but now the bane of my existence isn't one of the dogs, but rather one of the kittens, who thinks *anything* on the counter (or in the sink) that smells good to a cat is hers for the sampling. A water pistol works wonders, but of course I have to be present to catch her. So I've changed my own behavior and make sure not to leave anything out for even a minute if I'm not in the kitchen and she could be.

 

Of course, the kitchen is gated off when I'm not here--not to keep dogs out of the kitchen but rather to keep one dog who stays loose in the house away from the crate area off the kitchen where her nemesis stays; without the baby gate the two old grand dames would fight through the crate while I'm not here (and the entrance to the sun porch where the dog crates reside is too wide for a standard baby gate).

 

I, too, use the microwave for storage, but mainly after living in a house with a mouse problem and wanting to prevent such critters from getting into stuff like bread and the like. But it is a PIA to move stored stuff out of the microwave in order to use it!

 

J.

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On the topic of "how to train people" theres a neat little book out there called Don't Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor. Its not a dog training book.

 

Some people are not fans of Ms. Pryor, because in it she discusses how to train people by responding to their behavior, and they are offended by that for some reason. I am not.

 

She breaks your options down into 8 methods of ending undesirable behavior based on how you react to what happens. You can use these methods on dogs, cats, people...its all in how you react to their behavior. Its not underhanded...I can choose react to other's behavior in any way I see fit and I have been even known to tell people "I am responding to your X behavior this way, because it makes me uncomfortable when you do X.".

 

Its been around for a while and you can probably find it in the library. Its useful when dealing with people/animals who frustrate you.

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Like Mr. McCaig, I've learned to never say never. One of my dogs has picked up a piece of uncooked pasta from the floor and growled when I reached for it.

 

Gibbs thinks that anything novel where he can reach it might be edible, so he'll taste test. As both DH and I take daily meds that are quite harmful to dogs, we've had to learn to pick things up the minute it's dropped.

 

And then there's my 'devil in a border collie suit,' Shoshone. Several years ago, we kept the dog kibble plus treats and chewies in one of those plastic bins with a locking lid, on an open bottom shelf in the kitchen. None of the dogs ever looked at it, to my knowledge.

 

DH came home one day to the bin open and rolled over on its side. Kibble, (almost 40 lbs worth, I'd just bought a new bag), was scattered everywhere. By everywhere I mean the kitchen, the hallway, the laundry room, his bedroom, and the home office. The treats and all the chewies were gone. Shoshone looked like she'd swallowed a basketball and could barely waddle around. Needless to say, none of the dogs got any dinner that night.

 

The next day, she gave forth 2, maybe 3 enormous, horse-sized poops. Then she gave a good shake and woofed at me.

 

About a week later, DH tells me that he's come upon Shoshone rooting around in his closet several times. Whatever could that be about? We cleaned out the bottom of the closet and came upon Shonie's treasure trove: 30 or so of the small chew sticks and several large cookies.

 

Never say never.

 

Ruth

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