Does this sound familiar?
You cook a delightful meal, and just as your family gathers around the table, your dog starts acting up. She starts whining in a high-pitched voice and widens her eyes. At first, you think her begging is cute, but the behavior quickly becomes unpleasant.
You can’t eat at a table or snack during a movie without your dog hounding you for food. Every time you cook, your furry companion storms into the kitchen and follows your every movement.
Let’s face it, your dog is not starving, so she has no reasons to beg for food.
But when you look in those wide, pleading eyes you can’t help yourself and toss a small nibble from your plate. You tell yourself it’s “just a taste”, but what you’re really doing is reinforcing the begging behavior.
Fortunately, there are a few simple tricks that can convince your dog to stop begging every time you eat.
1. Do Not Give In
You tell yourself you cannot look at your dog’s sad face and eat without sharing your food. You love him to bits, and you would do anything to keep him healthy and happy.
You simply can’t listen to that high-pitched whine without doing something. Without sharing a little bit of food.
But the truth is, you’re working against yourself.
Your dog might be smarter than you give him credit for. He knows his high-pitched whine gets to you, so he will use it every time you eat.
Here’s the thing, sharing your food is a form of affection, and affection reinforces every type of dog behavior. Your dog learned to associate the high-pitched whine with you giving him food.
So the first thing you should do if you want to stop your dog from begging is not giving in to his antics. If you refuse to share your food on a regular basis, your doggo will learn that whining while you eat earns him nothing.
But you need to be consistent. Everyone in your household should abstain from sharing his or her food with the dog. If two family members don’t share but the third one does, your dog will keep begging.
2. Ignore The Begging Behavior
If your fur baby already has the habit of begging for scraps, you have to ignore her. Begging is a form of attention-seeking behavior. You need to teach your dog that begging will lead to you ignoring her.
Abstain from looking at your dog when she begs. Do not speak to her, and do not touch her. Ignoring your dog completely while she begs will reinforce the fact that begging is not going to work any longer.
3. Close The Door
One of the simplest ways to stop your furry friend from begging is getting him away from the table.
Get your dog in a separate room, fill his bowl with dog food, wait until he starts eating, and close the door while you go and eat your meal.
Sure, he’s going to whine and cry the few times you do this, but he’s going to get used to this routine if you include it in your daily schedule.
4. Use The ‘Your Place’ Command
If your dog is already a professional beggar, this behavior will be more difficult to teach. However, consistency will eventually pay off.
Your dog should already be familiar with the ‘Lie Down’ command before you teach this one.
Next, you have to decide where you want your dog to go when you give the command. A carpeted area, a cushion, or a dog bed works well for this purpose. You will also need a lot of treats.
Now you have to decide on which command to use. ‘Place’ is the top favorite, but you can also use other commands. Using single words usually works best.
Start off by standing next to the spot that will serve as your dog’s place. Give the command word you’ve chosen and use a treat to lure your dog onto the spot. When she reaches her place, praise her and give her a treat. Rinse and repeat.
Most dogs will follow your command after a few training sessions.
Once your doggo is consistently obeying your command, add the ‘Lie Down’ one as well. Following both commands will take some practice. However, your dog should learn to sit down on her spot after a few training sessions.
Now that your furry companion lies down on her spot every time you want her to, increase the amount of time she spends there. You can do this by waiting a few extra seconds before offering her treats for obeying your command.
When your dog masters this trick, you can use it every time you want to eat without her begging for food.
5. Keep Your Dog Distracted
Begging for food can’t be your dog’s favorite activity. Doesn’t he have a favorite toy or a fluffy slipper he enjoys chewing, a little too much maybe?
You can save that special toy or dog chew and offer then to your fur baby while the rest of the family eats. This should keep your dog distracted by something he enjoys and gives you the opportunity to eat your meal in peace.
Another good option is to distract your dog with… food. His food.
Feed your dog right before you serve your own meal. Ignore him if he comes begging. When you and your family finish your meal, pick up his bowl whether he finished it or not.
Your doggo will quickly learn that he needs to finish his meal before you finish yours if he wants to eat it all. This will keep him distracted while you eat, so he will not bother you any longer.
Stop Your Dog From Begging With Patience
The most important thing you have to keep in mind when teaching your dog to stop begging for food is that you need to be patient.
Your dog might have developed his or her current behavior in months or even years, so it’s unreasonable to believe it will go away overnight.
Discipline your dog patiently and with consistency. Your efforts will be rewarded and you will be the proud parent of a well-behaved dog.