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Can YOUR dog counter surf?

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Bolt, the Yorkshire terrier guest columnist: Okay!  I have had it!  That Wheaten Terrier that lives in my domain is beginning to get on my nerves. I am the alpha dog here, but he is beginning to invade my turf in certain areas.  I am the one who can sit on the couch!  I am the one who can playfully beg for food! I am the one who continually gets his way!  I am the one who….who…who, due to my small size, cannot counter surf, and that is my dilemma! That other dog is sneaky.  Whenever our humans leave the kitchen and there is something still edible out on the counter within reach of his slobbering mouth, he leaps up to retrieve it, sometimes even gnawing through the container in which the treats are held.

Since Jessie and Bo are not the only educated and well-read pets on this blog, I decided to do a little research about this matter, and to my surprise, I learned that when dogs decide to sneak some human food, they try to draw as little attetnion to themselves as possible when eating food that is not meant for them.  That approach does not work for me, however.  I have to find a way to open the pantry door, drag the step stool out of there, and then position it in front of the accessible counter.  Not always the quietest thing to do.  I tried to convince that other dog to let me jump upon his back, but he refused.

Researchers at Hood College actually did a study with 40 dogs that had been trained not to eat food from a plate by placing before them two identical containers filled with yummy goodies.  One container was decorated with noisy bells and the alarms on the second one was disabled.

With human eyes on these dogs, the dogs fearlessly went for both containers equally.  When the human was not looking, but was present, the dogs went for the container that did not elicit any noise when it was touched.  This study concluded that dogs have a sense for considering how humans perceive their actions.

Interesting to me, as I have seen that other dog eye ball our humans whenever they leave the kitchen forgetting they have left something on the counter.  As soon as they are out of sight from the kitchen, that other dog will jump up on the counter with his front paws and snatch the food away, like a thief in the night!  It is amazing how quickly and quietly this all takes place.  Meanwhile, I am the one who is tagged as guilty, as I am hurrying to get that darned step stool back into the pantry, knocking everything over in doing so.  That other dog, however, is happily resting on the floor, with what I perceive to be the biggest grin ever on his face.  I guess I will just have to go see if anything fell onto the floor and slid under the diswasher.  At least I am small enough to get part of my snout and head under there!  That other dog, at the very least, could only swipe his tail under it.  Hey!  There’s an idea!  I should force him to sweep out the crumbs from under there and from under the fridge.  Gotta go!  There’s work to be done!

(Thanks to for this great information about the dog studies!)


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