TIP #1: IF THE DAMAGE IS DONE
Behaviors that are reinforced will be repeated, even if they're unwanted behaviors. So if your dog has once managed to gulp down a loaf of bread while you fetched the mail, chances are you now have a hard-core counter surfer on your hands. What’s the answer? Think of it from your dog's perspective. If your dog is counter surfing, what's in it for the dog? Every time he gets food he is receiving a positive consequence. If we remove food from the counters the behavior will eventually become extinct (cease to exist) because getting on the counter is no longer rewarded (it's now a negative consequence, i.e. punishment).
TIP #2: ARE YOU DOING YOUR DOG'S HOMEWORK?
Dogs who are persistently manipulated with verbal commands, equipment, and physical prompting to perform behaviors (such as pushing them into a sit) become reliant on their pet parents to do everything for them. This is equal to doing a child's homework for him or her. A child might get better grades if an adult did his homework, but he or she would not learn the skills needed to function successfully in the world. This same concept is also true for your dog. If you have been doing his "homework" via constant reminding or demanding obedience, telling him, "No," all the time, and/or using leash manipulations and physical prompts to keep him in line, he will not have learned the skills needed to function calmly in life. Don't do your dog's homework. Teach him what you want him to do.
- excerpted from Chill Out Fido!
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, FFCP, CTDI