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Surfing the Counter Instead of the Waves

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CoconutCoconut, pictured here, is a notorious counter surfer.  So much so that a couple of weeks ago she grabbed an asthma inhaler from the counter and went on to eat it!  That near-death experience hasn’t dampened her surfing habit, though.  Why do some dogs like to counter surf?

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.

Ever noticed in multi-pet households there’ll be one dog watching the humans that leave the kitchen with  something left 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!

The first dog  is happily resting on the floor when the humans reenter the room, leaving dog #2 to take the fall.  I think the researchers at Hood College may be onto something with that whole perception thing!


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


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