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Thread: Bench/table Surfing

  1. #1

    Default Bench/table Surfing

    Hi- we have a 7 year old 1 eyed beagle- we got him via rescue 18 mths ago.
    We have managed to get a great response to training in many areas (walking well on leash, stopping constant barking etc) however we are complely unable to break his beagle food compulsion which also involves table/counter surfing constantly as well as eating through childrens lunchboxes/shed door or other barriers- he has climbed into the dishwasher at times...

    He sleeps outside in a kennel but has house access during the day.
    We have a very large open plan kitchen/lounge/dining so a baby gate is not an option.
    He is walked 3 to 7km every day without fail and attends dog club once a week.
    He is never off leash as he has the beagle tendancy to go "on scent!" and I am realistic about this.
    At the moment he is locked outside during all meal prep/meals and tidy up however he is still counter and table surfing whenever inside the house.
    We have tried loud noises, alfoil and placing tins that fall on his head. Approx once a week his surfing will get him a reward when he manages to get something off the counter- so he is reinforcing the habbit. I mention his one eye because I suspect this makes him even more scent obsessed than a normal beagle- but I could be wrong.
    We do TOT and he sits for a meal and is not released to get his dinner until I have his full attention and eye contact.

    I would LOVE any ideas people may have on countering this problem.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    You need "its yer choice" gradually generalised to all places including the kitchen. And you need to limit his opportunity to do it. So you might not be able to do baby gate but you should have room for a dog crate.

    I do believe that you can get a motion detecting air freshener that might help. When I use stacks of tin cans to keep my dog off the bench, I put so many so close together that she can't get near any good smell without knocking some off. And that gets my attention as well as hers.

    It is possible to train a beagle to come back when you call it. I know of four in my neighbourhood that will. And I know a whole lot of dogs that are supposedly easy to train that won't. Mostly labrardors.

    You might try annointing the counters with vicks vapour rub too. But I suspect with this hound - given that he has been well rewarded for his efforts, will continue to try the counter surfing, which means if there is anything that smells the least bit enticing to your dog, you probably want to keep the dog in the crate until the food is cleaned up and put away ie leave nothing out on the bench that a beagle might want to eat or taste.

    You can also start rewarding him with equally yummy things for being in his crate or on a designated mat or place.

  3. #3


    Why had I not thought of the crate solution before!

    I am off to order a crate and see how that wks. The biggest issue I can imagine is the constant whining to get out (he already does this when locked outside during meal times- easier to ignore when he is outside...)

  4. #4


    There is another thread in here where we have recommended crates. I will find my last post to give you an idea of how to work up to a crate. AS you don't want to just throw him in the crate and lock him in the first time he sees it. You want to make his crate a fun place to be.

  5. #5


    Copies from my posts in another thread

    This means not just putting them in their and shutting the door the first time they see it. It will probably take a few days to a few weeks to get them to really love their crates. Never force your dog into the crate.
    Personally I do it like this:-
    Day 1) I would start with setting up the crates and letting the dogs sniff around them and rewarding your dogs with treats for their interest in the crates. That is it.
    Day 2) Start with the same as day 1 and then maybe chuck some treats inside the crate so the dogs go in and eat and then come back out. That is it for day 2
    Day 3) Repeat day 1 and 2 steps and then chuck into the crate a chicken neck or something similar which is higher value than normal treats but takes a little longer to eat and then let them walk out again. End of day 3
    Day 4) Repeat previous steps and then while they are chewing on the chicken neck or similar item shut the door, just for 10 - 15 seconds and then open again and let them out.

    From there you should just gradually increase the time the door is shut and gradually increase the value of the food you give them while they are in their crate. Do not start locking them for the night in until you can see they are very comfy inside. Ie: They will walk in and lay down or relax without any or too much guidance from you, if they are sitting/standing at the door then they are still anxious of being in the crate.
    I would also suggest you start to play crate games (see below) with your dogs while you are gradually increasing their time in the crate, so they find it a fun place as well as a rewarding place to be.
    Verbal rewards/attention are also a really important past of crate training, especially if you have a dog who is not super food motivated. So make sure you give loads of praise and pats for the dogs going into the crates.

    I would highly recommend you buy the Susan Garrett crate games DVD

    ‪Crate Games‬‏ - YouTube

    That is just a sample of how her crate games get dogs to really love the crate.

    ETA - Feeding your dog dinner inside the crate when he is comfortable with it is also a great idea.

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