Dear Dr. Zeus: Help me please! I can’t seem to resist counter surfing for extra treats! It smells and tastes so good. My family always gets upset with me – “Molly” a Flat-Coated Retriever from Manchester, CT
Dear Molly: First of all, you are not alone. Your hunting and survival instincts are just kicking in and you’re doing what you know best. Dogs have super sensitive noses and we can detect a spot of bacon grease on the counter from 3 rooms away. It’s a blessing and a curse. My mom was just reading Through a Dog’s Eyes (see review) and it stated that sneaking food or “counter surfing” was one of the easiest problems to solve. People should simply not leave food where us dogs can get it! You see, it’s really not your fault at all; it’s your people that need the training, not you.
That being said, if they haven’t read that book and aren’t reading this article, you may have to resort to other survival tools. I have it lucky as I live in a house full of dogs so unless you’re caught in the act, it’s hard to pinpoint who did what. My daughter, Diamond, used to be a good scout and would alert me if someone was coming, but now she’s grown up and often beats me to it. Like father, like daughter. If they suspect and ask “did you eat that cookie?”, please don’t look guilty. Just put on your biggest smile and wiggle your behind like you don’t know WHAT they’re talking about. Then point your nose at the nearest dog and scoot away after a toy. Whew! Escaped a close one!
For those of you that don’t live with another furry animal, this could be a bit more challenging. Other tactics need to be employed. Here are a few tips.
- Don’t leave a mess. If you leave crumbs or remnants of food, they will know it’s you so be neat and make sure you clean up after yourself. That’s why we have such long tongues. They will likely not remember that they left something on the counter so get every last bit.
- Be quiet and don’t be greedy. I know you’ll be so excited that they left a plate of raw hamburgers ready to be grilled on the counter top while they fire up the grill. Don’t knock over the whole plate, you will be caught for sure. Just grab one hamburger patty and devour it, look around to see if they’re coming and, if not, go for the next one. Again, they will likely think they counted wrong or something.
- Clean yourself up. If you happened to be lucky to finish the spaghetti and meatball leftovers, make sure you lick the spaghetti sauce off your nose and mouth. Just to be sure, make a pass by the living room drapes or couch – who needs a napkin!
Surf’s up! Enjoy!
Category : Ask Dr. Zeus