Dog counter surfing and jumping up on the backs of people legs

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Phyllis writes to me:

Hi Adam, I have read your book on dog obedience training twice and searched the forums but haven’t found a good answer to my questions. I have a 4 1/2 month old German Shorthair/Lab mix named BooBoo. She is an assertive but not really aggressive dog. She has already become dominant mostly to our 5 year old Shepherd mix. My questions are: 1) how do we keep her from counter surfing. We have tried the mousetraps on the counter but she wised up to those after just one snap. She simply ignored any “set up” food we place behind a mousetrap (even when we hid it in a folded paper towel) or if she can, she gets around the trap to get to the food. She has even moved the trap to get to the food before. She is not frightened by loud noises so I can’t use the loud pans trick. I have also tried putting a tab leash on her but she just chews on the end of it whenever she can. And it is hard to grab her tab when I am several feet away from her while she gets her paws up on the counter. By the time I get to her, she is already down. Should I be correcting her even after she has gotten down? One more thing, I have gotten her to stop jumping on me in front, but she’ll come up from behind and bounce off my the back of my legs and be gone before I can turn and correct her. Other than these problems, she is adorable, I must say! Thanks for any help. Phyllis

Adam replies:

Hi, Phyllis:

What you’re going to need to do with this dog is: Use the crate when you cannot supervise her, until she is 100%. When you set her up, correct her with the pinch collar and tab/leash. If she’s chewing the tab, this tells me that you’re not keeping a close enough eye on her. (Hint: To make it easier on your pocket book, use a harness snap and a piece short piece of rope you can buy from a hardware store, both for under $1).

Just to make sure you’re understanding correctly: Take the collar and tab off, when you put her in the crate.

In regard to correcting her after she’s gotten down: That’s where the bridging technique comes in. As soon as she does the behavior — even if you’re on the other side of the room– you need to yell, “No, no, no” as you run to her and administer the behavior. By saying “No,” right at the moment she does it, you’re creating a virtual snap shot in her mind, and by continuing to say “no, no, no” as you run to her, you’re forcing her to remember what she’s being corrected for. Studies I’ve read suggest you have at least 7 to 9 seconds after the behavior, as long as you’re using that bridging technique. So, yes; You should be correcting her after she’s jumped back down off the counter, as long as you’ve said, “No!”

In regard to the jumping while behind you: Same deal. Say, “No!” and then grab that tab or leash and administer your correction. If you’re using the pinch collar and leash correctly (loose-tight-loose) this behavior should be eliminated, very quickly. If not, then your correction isn’t firm enough.

Keep me posted,
– Adam.

One Response to “Dog counter surfing and jumping up on the backs of people legs”

  1. Lisa says:

    The information is helpful, but I need other ideas to stop the jumping. The choke chain we have tried over and over with no results. I have a hundred pound Doberman that is the sweetest dog alive and very loveable, but is constantly jumping up on me, and has actually knocked me down several times. I have even used no, and held her by the hair on her neck. When I let go, she starts jumping all over. We have a farm, so she runs all day, so it isn’t lack of exercise

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