Your are absolutely certain that your dog is the cutest dog in the whole world. You know it’s true! He is, as a matter of fact, perfect in every way except for one tiny little thing: He begs. Anytime you are at the table with your family or, even worse, with dinner guests, your furry little friend is right there whining, licking his lips and pawing at the legs of those seated at the table. While the behavior is understandable – after all, you do make a mean meatloaf - it still needs to be stopped. If you have no idea how to stop a dog from begging, this article will provide a few tips to get you started.
Before you begin to retrain your dog in order to eliminate this behavior, it is very important to first realize where it came from in the first place. The fact is that if your dog has never been given food from the table, it is unlikely that he would waste his time begging. If the behavior had never been rewarded it probably would not continue.
Of course it is much easier to never give a dog food from the table in the first place than it is to stop your dog from begging once the behavior has been established. The good news is that stopping the behavior is relatively simple as long as one rule is firmly established: The entire family must be on board.
That last sentence is highlighted for a good reason. Maybe you know for sure that you have never fed your dog from the table, and therefore you cannot understand his begging behavior. Look to the rest of your family for the guilty party who has taught your pet that there are rewards in begging for food at your dining table.
Children are the most likely suspects. This is especially true if they do not happen to be fans of everything that you serve. Your child doesn’t want to eat it. You won’t let them up from the table until all the food is gone, and your four-legged-friend sits under the table just waiting for the chance to help your child out. The dog isn’t nearly as fussy as your child about what he eats. He’s more than happy to take the chicken, broccoli or potatoes off your child’s hands.
Of course, it’s not always the children that are to blame. Your spouse may also be guilty of giving in to that pathetic look in the dog’s eyes. You have probably even given in once or twice. No matter who the guilty party is, the behavior must stop.
Here are some tips to get you started on the road to being the owner of a well-behaved pooch.
Stop RewardingThis is the most important step you must take to stop your dog from begging at the table. You must make sure that he is NEVER given so much as one scrap of food from the table ever again. That means even on “special occasions” your dog is not given food from your table. There are plenty of other ways to do special things for your dog. If you cannot ensure that your family is on board with you 100%, then you should make sure that the dog is not allowed in the room during mealtimes. If you have a yard that is safe for your pet then let your meal times be his outdoor time. If that isn’t possible then your dog will need to be placed in his crate or another room during meals. Once the table is cleared and all the food put away, he can be let back in.
Feed at the Same Time
One way to eliminate begging is to feed your dog his meal at the same time you are eating yours. It is preferable to feed him in a separate room as your food probably smells a whole lot better that what he is eating.
While begging is a behavior that your dog can, literally, learn in one day, unlearning it takes considerably longer. Don’t expect the begging to stop after just a few days. Instead, realize that undoing such behavior is a long process and that you must continually work on this until all signs of begging have stopped. Yes, it may take a while but it will be worth in the end. Just be patient!
Teach Simple Commands
By teaching your dog basic commands such as “sit”, “stay”, and “no” you can help stop the begging. If your dog follows the commands then you can use them when you see signs of begging begin. A firm “no” at the first sign of whining or a quick “stay” should the dog start to meander over the table can go a long way in teaching your dog to stop his begging.
Preventive MeasuresAs mentioned earlier, it’s much easier to stop begging from starting than it is to eliminate the behavior once it has begun. If you have a new puppy, do yourself a favor and NEVER give in to the temptation to feed him from the table. Doing so even one time may be all it takes to create a beggar.
Also keep in mind that table food is not the best for your pet. Some human foods are potentially harmful to your dog. Do both of you a favor and have your dog stick to dog food. You can provide him with dog treats, but not treats from you table.
There are many behaviors that are a lot worse than begging for table food, but that doesn’t mean that this annoying behavior should be ignored. It makes dinner guests uncomfortable and, as mentioned earlier, table food isn’t always good for dogs.
Take the time to learn how to stop a dog from begging so that dinner time at your house can be a more pleasant experience for your family and your guests.