How to Stop Your Dog From Begging at the Table
Dogs love to eat, there is no doubt about it. Even if your dog has just eaten his own dinner, you may find him hovering near the dinner table as you and your family enjoy your evening meal. Some dogs simply wait patiently to see if you have any scraps to offer while others actively beg at your side.
Begging is usually a reinforced behavior in dogs and it can get pretty annoying. Keep reading to learn how to stop your dog from begging at the table.
Why Do Dogs Beg at the Table?
This question may seem like it has an obvious answer, but you might be surprised. The most obvious reason is that your dog is hungry or that he simply wants food. His sense of smell is much stronger than yours, so the tasty aroma of cooking food is even more alluring. Think about it this way – if you walked into the house and smelled freshly baked cookies, you’d probably head to the kitchen to check it out, right? So, you can’t really blame your dog for doing the same.
While there may be a simple reason why your dog is drawn to the dinner table, actually begging for food is generally a learned response. If you see your dog staring up at you with those puppy dog eyes, trying to convince you that he hasn’t eaten in days, you’ll be tempted to give him something from your plate. What you may not realize is that, in doing so, you’re actually teaching him to beg. Your dog learns that if he begs long enough, you’ll eventually give in because that’s the message you’re sending!
How Do You Stop the Behavior?
It doesn’t take long for a dog to learn to beg at the dinner table, but how do you get him to stop once he’s started? When it comes to dealing with problem behaviors, there are two ways to go. One way is to redirect the behavior – give your dog a chew toy if you find him chewing on your shoe. The other way is to ignore him, to refuse to give him what he wants so he will stop exhibiting the behavior.
Here are some simple steps you can take to stop your dog from begging at the table:
- Confine your dog to the kitchen or another room while you eat dinner, so he can’t get to the table.
- Try giving your dog a chew bone or another treat that will last the duration of the meal.
- Use a tether or leash to keep your dog away from the table if you still want him in the same room.
- Feed your dog his dinner right before you sit down to eat yours.
- Do not give in to your dog if he begs, simply ignore him and wait for him to go away.
Though it may not take long for your dog to learn how to beg at the table, it could take some time to correct the behavior. As is true when you’re teaching your dog a new command, you need to be firm and consistent if you want your dog to learn. Once you’ve stopped your dog from begging, don’t start feeding him from the table again or you’ll have to start over!
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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