Table Manners: How to Get Your Dog to Stop Begging for Food
Isn’t a begging dog almost synonymous with every dog? Dogs just beg for food, right? Actually, there are things we do to encourage this bad behavior in our canine companions and there are things we can do to get your dog to stop begging for food.
A begging dog can spell trouble in the weight department if you give in to them. Giving your pet table scraps also increases the risks of toxicity and behavior problems. Plus, it is just plain bad manners for your dog to beg. This is why the team at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services wants to give you pointers on how to teach a dog not to beg. Read on to learn more!
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Begging With Simple Steps
Teaching a dog a new behavior is about giving positive verbal cues and rewards, consistency, and a lot of patience. It’s not an overnight matter, especially if your pet is used to eating scraps or gets table treats by begging for them. The first order of business is to stop feeding your dog from the table or kitchen.
Here are a few suggestions for curbing the begging.
- Teach them the “place” command — This command teaches your pet to find their place, such as a cushion, spot on the floor, or dog bed. When you are preparing dinner or eating, tell them to find their spot or place. The first few times you teach this command, you will have to physically go with them on a leash to their spot. If they refuse to stay, take them to a separate room, then try again later. Tell them to find their place and give them a small treat (not a table scrap) when they go to it. You may need to crate your dog, if they can’t get the hang of staying in their spot as you gradually introduce the training.
- Occupy your pet — If your dog has a favorite chew toy or a challenging game that takes them time to figure out, this is a good solution during dinner. A frozen Kong toy or something similar can be made low-calorie using mashed banana or sweet potato puree. Your dog will love to have their own special treat while everyone is eating.
- Ignore the begging — It may be hard to do at first, to avoid those big, doleful eyes, but by paying attention to your dog, you are encouraging the begging behavior. If you look at your dog while you are eating, they will naturally expect to get something.
- Use a tie-out or baby gate — If your pet is continuing to get up from their spot, use a tie-out to tether your dog to something they can’t move while everyone is eating. You can also set up a baby gate, so your pet can’t come over to the table. Afterward, spend some time with your dog doing something fun, or go for a quick walk as a reward.
- Make sure everyone follows the rules — If you create the new rule of no begging or feeding from the table, make sure the rest of the family is on board. This ensures less confusion for your dog and helps reinforce the message that begging won’t be rewarded. Good behavior will be.
Just remember, as with any training, avoid punishing or scolding your dog. Just stop what you are doing, get them to settle down and become occupied with something else, then try again. Persistence and consistency are the keys to good training (and lots of rewards).
Is It NOT Okay to Feed My Dog People Food?
Actually, the behavior in question is begging, not so much what food you give them. Some pet owners like to supplement their dogs’ meal with healthy foods, like steamed green beans and mashed sweet potato. This is perfectly fine, as long as it is in small portions and not something that is either rich and greasy or toxic.
If you do decide to feed them some of your food, make sure to maintain the rules of the home. Place these foods in their food bowl and at a different time, such as after clean-up or with their regular meal.
Are you struggling with a little beggar and need help? Your team at OVRS is here with advice on how to get your dog to stop begging for food. Please call us for additional assistance or to schedule an appointment for your sweet pet.