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How to break your dog’s bad habits today - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

How to break your dog’s bad habits today

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Many dogs are counter-surfers, so you're not alone with this problem. The habit might at first seem fun to your dog. But tummy upset -- and most likely, your being upset -- can easily lead to misery.

The Wisconsin Humane Society provides the following tips to break your dog of the counter-surfing habit:

1. Teach your dog that this behavior is unacceptable. When your dog misbehaves, clap your hands loudly and say, "Off!" in a firm tone of voice. Then, take your dog by the collar and remove it from the area for a mini time-out.

2. If you have some lightweight cookie sheets, balance them on the edge of the counter. If your dog does jump up, the sheets will fall down and make noise, which could teach your pet a memorable audible lesson. Pet stores sell deterrent devices that can serve a similar function.

3. Provide plenty of physical and mental exercise, and be sure to feed your dog quality food on schedule. If your dog is on a diet and consuming lower-calorie fare, speak with your veterinarian about manufactured foods that will help your dog to feel full and satiated.

4. Do your part by putting away leftover and recently purchased foods immediately. Store all countertop foods in closed non-glass containers. Use trashcans with lids that your dog cannot easily open.

Don't:

1. Push your dog off the counter. Your pet could get hurt. Always pick up your dog and place it on the floor.

2. Scold your dog long after the fact. It won't understand what it's done wrong.

3. Use a muzzle unless you absolutely have to. Muzzles can restrict breathing and prevent your dog from drinking water. If you must resort to a muzzle, use it only for a short period of supervised time. 

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