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Training Your Puppy Not to Jump on Counters

Jumping on kitchen counters is a hard habit for your puppy to break, but you can train him to stop. Before you begin training the dog, however, you need to understand the reason for jumping.

The puppy sees your eyes and mouth (hands equals mouths in the dog world) interacting with objects on the countertops all day. When the dog copies you by trying to jump on the counter, you bark (shouting is the same as barking to a dog) and shove her away. The puppy interpretation? Prize Envy. The dog thinks, "Whatever I was reaching for must be excellent because everybody raced over for it." So she reconsiders. She jumps when your back is turned or you're out of the room. This behavior isn't spiteful; it's just plain smart.

To stop your dog from jumping on or toward the counter, try this:

1. With your puppy on the leash, place something tempting on the counter.

2. The instant your puppy looks up to sniff the counter, snap the lead back, say "Ep, Ep," and shout at the counter "Bad turkey!"

3. Continue to work in the kitchen, correcting your puppy whenever she even thinks about approaching what's on the counter.

If your dog's already on the counter, you're too late to correct her; instead, flick her off by curling a finger under her collar or grabbing her lead. Do not yell at your dog once she's on the counter. Do not lurch, shove, snatch, or hit. Touching reinforces behavior. After all, a touch is attention. If you push your dog, you're just reinforcing her behavior.

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