Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum

Gunnar is super treat motivated.  Now that he is 15 weeks and getting taller, he can stand up and put his paws on our kitchen table and even our high counter tops.

He is definitely NOT invited to my poker game... LOL

He does obediently get down every time he is told to by me or my wife, and the kids just push him off, but the kids also drop tasty crumbs by accident and our son loves him enough to share occasionally.

Gunnar loves eggs more than anything in the world.

Even though he obeys a stern "off" command, I hate doing it 30-40 times at dinner.

He has been such a great dog, very few potty accidents as long as we pay attention to his signals, very obedient, doesn't chew things that he's not supposed to, doesn't puppy bite hardly at all and never hard, even with the little kids.  He goes to his crate on command and has slept through the night in it since day one.  He will occasionally ignore a command and walk the other way, but does so with the guiltiest expression ever.  He really does want to obey.  If he were any more obedient he would be a robot.

I've taken to crating him during dinner, but I would rather train it out of him.  I've resisted doing so with treats because he is smart enough to equate getting up to the table then obeying the down command with a free treat.  Then I'm the trained one.  :)

Any advice?

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Teddy did this a few weeks ago.  I turned my attention to the hockey game on TV and went to reach for my Twinkie a few seconds later -- GONE !!  I looked at Teddy...he walked away....then I got up, cornered him, opened his mouth....VOILA !!  1/2 a Twinkie !!

The little thief !!! LOL

He's starting to put his paws on the kitchen table (we eat at the same time but I always take longer) and will try and eat something if I don't move it away from the edge.

I think we have to be vigilant until they are trained.  At least I don't eat any foods very toxic to dogs.  But I don't want Teddy eating any human food, even at 7 months.

Agreed.  We do our best to teach the kids no human food, especially NO CHOCOLATE for the dog.

Gunnar does get an egg of his own a couple times/week for his coat and to reduce shedding.  It really works and he loves them, but he is not welcome to our plates of eggs with salt pepper and sriracha etc. on them.

We eat a lot of eggs, and our neighbors have chickens and beg us to take them so we always have a steady supply.

Even if he has a bowl full of kibble, our food is more attractive.  So far he has managed to snag bites from the floor, or a kid's plate of the aforementioned eggs, pot roast, chicken and eggplant pasta, tortilla chip crumbs, and who knows what else?

Maybe the crate is the best bet for now.

So there are a few ways to deal with this.

First, start working on a solid "down" and  "stay". Four months is old enough to start real obedience training. Once your dog has mastered a solid "down-stay", use that command to keep him away from the dinner table, period. There are very few things more obnoxious than a dog who is hanging around the table when you're eating, and it really shouldn;t ever be allowed. The dog should have a designated place, usually a bed or rug, near the eating area where he can see you and be part of family times, but not be bothering anyone. The dog is put in a down stay before the family sits down to eat, and released when the meal is over.  A solid "down-stay" (along with "go to your place" or something similar) also helps a lot to eliminate jumping on visitors, (dog is put in a down stay before you open the door) and in many other areas of life. If the crate is within viewing range of the dinner table, you could use that, with the door open, especially since he knows the go to your crate command. 

Other than that, it's really important to keep counters clear of food items and anything else that might be appealing to a dog. 

And he shouldn;t be allowed to hang around the food prep area of the kitchen during meal preparation, either.

And also important is this: starting today, aside from treats given during training, the dog never ever ever gets any food handed to him directly from the table, the kitchen counter, or anywhere else that people are eating or snacking. Even if you want to share whatever you're eating with him, it goes into his bowl, always. That's how you stop begging forever, lol. 

Make sure the kids are all on board with these rules. 

Great advice!  thanks!

Down is good, stay can still use a little work.

He does have a corner/ rug he likes in the dining room.  Crate is in our bedroom.

I'll make sure treats etc. go in his bowl in the nearby laundry room or from our hand during training, i.e. NOT near the kitchen.

GD, if you don't give Gunnar food, does he eventually give up and lay down ?  Teddy does this....he'll sit underneath the kitchen table when he realizes I'm not giving in.

Now....late at night when I don't want him waking all our neighbors, that is when I give him something that lasts like a Smartbone or a Bully Stick (or the new Salmon Chews mentioned in another thread which I am going to get).  If I gave him soft or hard treats to last me through my coffee/Twinkie or the rest of my meal, he'd need 1/2 a package and I'm not filling him up that late at night on the dog equivalent of "junk food" LOL.  

The other thing is these interactive food/playthings -- mixed success there -- or a Kong plus frozen treat.

Frozen carrots also work (sometimes !) with Teddy and those are nutritious and a nice change of pace.

"Stay" does take time, and you have to build up to longer periods of time gradually. One minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, etc. Lots of praise. Using a long line when teaching "stay" is helpful, and you do need a lot of patience, lol. Always put them back in place when they break the stay before you've released them. The Training Group would be very helpful with other suggestions for this. The fact that he's generally an obedient, eager to please puppy will help a lot. 

Agreed and thanks, Karen.

LOL, my comment was actually in response to Gunnar's Dad's comment that Gunnar's "stay" could use a little work, but you're welcome. :) 

Annabelle is 2yrs and had never tried to counter surf before. She is a mini who hates to jump and she can't reach the counter without jumping. A couple of weeks ago I was cooking dinner and left a spoon next to the stove. I went into the tv room watch the weather report for a few minutes and heard something fall on the floor. I went into the kitchen to check on it and she had somehow jumped up and knocked the mashed potato spoon onto the floor and was licking it clean. As soon as I walked in, she knew she had done a bad thing, and gave me her best I'm sorry face. She had never tried it before, and hasn't attempted it again. Not sure what overcame her. I thought she had gone in there to get a drink of water, which she probably did. 

I cannot stress enough that you do NOT want a dog that will jump up to the counter or table.  There are so many horror stories on this website alone of a dog getting hold of a turkey carcass, chocolate cake, ham bone etc. etc. and can get a pancreatic attack which can be devastating or something just as bad - like choking on the bones, having bones lodge in their system etc. etc.  This is definitely one area where I would train, train, train so that they will not even think about it!  It always seems cute when your doodle nudges you at the table and looks at you with those big eyes and wants a bite of your awesome meal but that can lead to them jumping up when you're not around or the dreaded counter surfing. We have been lucky so far that Myla has never counter surfed (and I have heard that it can rear it's ugly head as they get older) but that is one area where we will not give in to the cute looks.  We have always made sure that Myla is laying on her dog bed while we eat and she is not allowed at the table until we are finished.  When I am clearing the table, I will always give her a "treat" from our meal, but she has to sit before she gets it and it's not around the table - it is by her food bowl.  I would never forgive myself if she got hold of anything that is on my countertop because she would gobble it up so fast it could be deadly. Your Gunnar is at the perfect age to start this training and I have to tell you that Myla is almost five years old and I know that if we even started to be lax in this part of her training, she would be begging and jumping up to the table in a heartbeat - she is that food motivated!  Good luck!

Thanks for all of the advice.  We have been working on Gunnar and having him lay on his favorite rug while we eat, and now NEVER give him treats in the kitchen or during our food time.

He has tried to push the limits a few times, but is adapting very quickly to the training.

My son has always loved watching Dog Whisperer (he likes to laugh at the naughty dogs) and we saw an episode where he emphasized gently teaching the dog that humans own all of the food in the house.  I can now put a treat on the floor and tell Gunnar to leave it and he will wait (begrudgingly)  Great progress.

Good for you, and good for Gunnar! Keep up the good work! 



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