Many dog parents complain about their dogs begging for food. Well, this is common among dogs, and it may be a holdover from the early times of domestication when dogs would have to wait patiently alongside the humans at the fire. However, this can be annoying and embarrassing, especially when you have guests.
You might have noticed this begging habit in your dog countless times when you prepare a delicious meal and seat to dine with your family. As soon as you attempt to take the first bite, you see your dog staring up at you longingly, silently begging you to drop something off your plate.
Most times, you’re tempted to give in to your dog’s demand, which is an unfortunate side of loving our dogs so much. Maybe you find sad puppy eyes adorable and can’t help but share your meals with them. It gives you joy doing this, but it can lead to bigger problems like pawing, jumping, and even barking.
More so, such behavior would cause your dog to get unnecessary extra calories, making them overweight. Not only that, but filling your dog’s belly with unhealthy ingredients may lead to several health complications.
Begging in dogs
You need to first understand that begging is a learned behavior, and that means someone might have taught the dog the reward of begging. Yea, dogs are relatively simple creatures and they learn to repeat a behavior that always attract a reward.
But the good news is that begging can be corrected with the right measures which are highlighted below. However, you need to be patient and consistent with these techniques to stop your dog from drooling over your dinner. And once your dog finds that their begging does not result in a payoff, they will have no choice but to stop the behavior on their own.
Let’s take a look at 12 easy ways to stop your dog from begging:
1. Don’t feed your dog from the table
Most dog owners make the mistake of feeding their dog from the table, and dogs pick up this habit and keep their nose ready and waiting every time after. You may think your dog is only a puppy, and you will correct the unwanted behavior as they grow up, but unfortunately, this habit is hard to break.
So the best thing is to avoid feeding your dog from the table from the very beginning while they are still at the puppy stage.
2. Teach your dog commands
We don’t mean the arm circling, finger wagging, or “oh snap” kind of command. You can teach your dog a legit command like going to his “place” when you want to feed them.
Dogs are fast learners and they when you designate a place such as their crate or bed, they tend to go there on your command and remain there until you call them out.
This behavior takes a lot of training and consistency in practice until your dog picks it up. So every time you eat, command your dog to go to his place and ensure it stays there until you finish eating. With much consistency, you’ll notice that your dog automatically goes to his place as soon as you start eating.
3. Feed your dog before dining
One smart way to stop your dog from begging is to feed them just before dining with your family. When your dog is full and satisfied, it will have less interest in your scraps.
So as soon as your dog finishes eating, instruct them to go to their place, or simply lay down. You may also instruct them to go for their post-dinner walk about the yard.
4. Train your children
You need to also teach your kids not to feed dogs from the table. Sometimes, kids tend to slip them a morsel here and taste there, and this encourages your dog to become a beggar.
So to avoid having trouble correcting your dogs on your part, ensure you train your children not to feed the dog, unless you permit them to do so.
5. Distract your dog
During meal times, you can give your dog toys loaded with treats, a doggie toothbrush, or a special bone. So instead of coming to you, your dog will seize this unusual chance to do something they don’t get to do any other time.
This trick is to distract your dog during meals, but you have to ensure you give them the treats at specific times, else they won’t find it appealing and they tend to resume their begging behavior.
6. Tether your dog away from the table
Although it can be a bit bothersome, as dogs tend to whine and bark when you tether them away from the table using a leach and a fixed object. But with consistency and time, your dog will keep their distance even without using the leash to tether them away.
7. Learn to ignore your dog during mealtime
Most dogs tend to be persistent in begging when they find that you give them attention during meal times. Even when you resort to yelling or scolding your dog, they may stay put as long as you give them attention.
So the best thing to do is to ignore your dog completely during meal time. Pretend like you don’t even notice their presence at all, and once you’re consistent, they’ll get the message and move along.
8. Inform your guest about the rules
You might have worked super hard to stop your dog from begging, but your guests may not know about your efforts, and may be tempted to give a hand out.
So, that’s more reason you need to politely explain to your guest that you’ve been trying to correct begging behavior, and you’re finally seeing changes, and you’ll be happy if they don’t feed your dog during mealtimes.
9. Exercise or play with your dog before mealtime
Dogs tend to tire out when they engage in vigorous play sessions. And this is a smart way to stop your dog from begging.
Before meal time, you can throw the ball for 15 minutes of fetch, play a game of tug, or go outdoors for a fast-paced walk around the block. This encourages your dog to sleep after getting exhausted. And then you can enjoy dinner peacefully with your family.
10. Do not involve your dog in clean up
It’s so much easier to let your dog clean up the fallout after meal time, especially when you have kids that drop food around the table. But as your dog begins to taste all that yummy food, it encourages them to come around again to beg.
So the best thing is to bust out the broom and do the cleaning yourself. It can be stressful but do it yourself.
11. Put scraps in their place
You need to teach your dog to respect that their bowl is their bowl and your plate is your place. So until you put the table scraps in their bowl, they won’t come begging.
Don’t let them feed on your table or the floor. Take the scraps to where their bowl is and let them feed at their place.
12. Block access using a gate
A good way to stop your dog from begging is to use a dog fence to keep them away from the dining table. You can place them in the living room, while the family is gathered at the dining room table.
Every parent tends to contend with dog begging, but fortunately, this behavior can be corrected using the measures above. However, you need to be patient and consistent, and with time, you’ll find out how well-mannered your dog has grown to become during mealtime.