Stealing Food

Posted by kjj4me
Dec 9, 2009
I have two six year old Labradors, siblings, and they both steal food from the kitchen counters. The male is on thyroid medication and after having lost 14lbs he needed to lose, he is now eating his way back up to his previous weight. They steal when we are home and out of the room, not at home, anytime. We try to keep everything out of reach but yesterday, I had just brought groceries home and had a loaf of bread on the counter. I left the room for about one minute and came back to an empty plastic bag and Max looking guilty. He is large and can easily reach the counters. He was also the biggest puppy of the litter, the milk hog. I have heard of putting mouse traps on the counters but am afraid they will get injured. I have been working with feeding them only in one place, I make them "leave it" when I set the food down, and they eat when I give them permission. They are exercised daily and live on a farm, have loads of attention.

Any suggestions?
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Dec 9, 2009
Hi kjj4me,

Counter surfing can be corrected rather easily if the dog is new to home from a shelter, etc. I foster dogs that are pulled from shelters so sometimes they don't know what they can and they cannot do when living with people inside a house.

So far, the situation worked the best for me was like this:

There was a flying pan with some sausage grease on the stove. The dog tried to reach and lick it and the cast iron pan fell on the floor and made a big noise. I came right into the kitchen with the noise and saw what just happened and reprimanded the dog. He didn't even try to jump on the counter.

I agree with you about the mouse trap being too dangerous. How about putting a large cardboard over the counter. Put some sausage or bacon pieces on the cardboard along with small pots and pans that will make a lot of noise. Set the cardboard so that it will fall off the counter (maybe half-way on it) when your dog tried to jump up and take the sausage. When dogs get negative consequences they will learn not to do that again.

However, the best thing you can do is to make sure you leave nothing within the reach of your doggies. The dog of my friend ate frozen bread dough and she had to rush the dog to the emergency clinic since the frozen dough will rise in the stomach and will kill the dog!

Of course, dogs can learn and my 3 dogs have learned they should not take any foods from the counter, and from the shopping bags on the floor, after many incidents and reprimands.

Good luck