counter cruising
n. When a dog or cat sniffs or jumps onto a counter looking for food.

Example Citation:
Available at most bookstores, this how-to tome covers problems from clawing and counter cruising to whiskers and wild birds.
—Patricia Dibsie, "Holiday gifts for our best friends," The San Diego Union-Tribune, December 7, 2000

Earliest Citation:
Benjamin is still here and so, too, I recently discovered, is his counter cruising. The return of the problem last week — evidenced by a pair of broken dinner plates on the floor, licked perfectly clean — had me returning to the very beginning for a solution. Keep counter tops free of temptation, keep Benjamin exercised well and regularly, and, finally, add a little disincentive for the jumping.
—Gina Spadafori, "Set a Trap to Train a Wayward Pet," Sacramento Bee, May 25, 1996

Notes:
Dogs and cats have been poaching food from kitchen countertops for ages, so it's a bit surprising that today's phrase is only about five years old, which, on the other hand, is about 35 in dog years*. A similar term — counter surfing — was coined around 1999. (A synonym — counter surfingM/i> — dates only to about 1999.)

(* Yes, I know that the old "1 dog year equals 7 human years" formula is outdated, so please hold off on the e-corrections. The most commonly accepted replacement formula is that each of a dog's first 2 years is the equivalent of 10 human years, and each subsequent year is the equivalent of 5 human years. Therefore, five dog years is still equivalent to 35 human years. Other formulas exist and the mileage varies depending on the breed, yadda yadda yadda.)

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