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How to Stop a Dog From Jumping on the Counter: 6 Tricks that Work

Adam Mann

By Adam Mann

white poodle in a christmas sweater with its front paws on the kitchen counter

If your dog is constantly jumping up on the counter and getting into everything, it can be super frustrating. It can make it feel like everything in your home is at your pup’s disposal, and all you want is for it to stop!

We understand the frustration because we’ve been there, and that’s why we came up with this guide that breaks down everything you need to do to get your dog off your counter once and for all.


Why Do Dogs Jump on Counters?

While there might be a few different reasons your dog is jumping on the counter, typically, the primary reason for this behavior is that they’ve learned the counter is an excellent place for them to get some yummy snacks or fun toys.

Dogs aren’t natural climbers, so if you’re finding them on the counter, it’s because they’ve started to get some sort of reward from doing so, and since you’re not encouraging the behavior, food is the usual culprit!

brown and white dog with its paws on the counter looking for food
Image Credit: Elayne Massaini, Shutterstock

The 6 Ways to Stop a Dog From Jumping on the Counter

Now that you know why your dog is jumping on the counter, it’s time to learn how to get them to stop. Below, we’ve highlighted six different ways you can discourage your pup from jumping on the counter. We recommend following all six recommendations for the quickest and most effective results.

1. Restrict Access

If you can keep your pup away from the counters, they can’t jump up onto them! Of course, this might be easier said than done, and you don’t always want to deal with the inconvenience that these measures can create.

Common tactics that can keep pups off counters include installing baby gates, blocking access to the kitchen, or removing objects your dog is using to get up on the counter in the first place.

2. Keep Food Off the Counters

Your dog is likely climbing on the counters to get food, so if you remove the reward from the counter, your dog doesn’t have the same incentive to go up there! If you’re actively cooking and working with the food while it’s on the counter, your pup is less likely to try and come up, and you can correct the behavior on the spot. But if you’re walking away from the counter, simply remove the food and take away the incentive for your pup to climb up.

a dog looking on the kitchen counter
Image Credit: SillyDogPhotos, Shutterstock

3. Keep Up With Cleaning

Just because you removed the food from the counter doesn’t mean your pup won’t climb up there. If they can still smell the food or if there are still crumbs on the counter, your pup still might climb up to see what they can find. Even wiping down the counters regularly will keep the smell of leftover crumbs from enticing them.

4. Crate Your Dog When Necessary

If you can’t be around and you want to keep your dog off the counter, or they’re consistently climbing up while you’re trying to cook, crate them during these times. It might not be the most fun for your dog, but it’ll keep them off your counters and give you a little sanity.

As you correct the behavior in the future, you can start to leave them out more, but only once you’ve trained them and know you can stop the negative behavior.

labradoodle lying near dog crate
Image Credit: sophiecat, Shutterstock

5. Reward Positive Behavior

Your dog gets up on the counter because they associate it with a positive reward. The key to keeping them off the counter is to start associating positive behavior with a reward, too! This means giving them a treat when they’re in the kitchen or by the counter and having all four paws on the floor.

If they’re starting to hop up on the counter, they don’t get a treat, and when they’re acting like they should, they get one. Before long, they’ll start to associate staying on the ground with treats, and they’ll stay off your counters, hopefully for good.

6. Teach Them the “Leave It” Command

Your dog likely wants to get onto the counter because they want food or something else that they enjoy. If you can teach them to leave food or other rewarding items alone when you tell them to, it can be a super useful tool to get them off your counters.

When they start to climb on the counter, you can tell them to “leave it,” and then encourage them off the counter before they can get the treat. Teaching them this command also gives you more time with your pup and lets you train them more in other ways, too, and that’s super helpful in a lot of ways!

woman training a brown dog
Image Credit: Ann Taylor, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

We know that having your dog constantly climbing on the counter is more than a little frustrating. But now that you know why they’re doing it and what you can do about it, all that’s left is for you to put in the hard work to correct the behavior. If you stick with it, you’ll have your dog off your counter once and for all in no time!

Featured Image Credit: Alexandra Bilham, Shutterstock

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