Your dog really has no reasons to beg for food. But those wide, pleading eyes suck you in every time and you share something 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
Your dog might be smarter than you think. They know that high-pitched whine and those eyes gets to you, so these are going to be used every time you eat. Sharing your food is a form of affection, and affection reinforces every type of dog behavior. Your dog has learned to associate the high-pitched whine with you giving food. The first thing to do is DO NOT give in to these antics. If you refuse to share your food on a regular basis, your doggo will learn that whining while you eat earns them nothing. Be consistent! Everyone in your household should abstain from sharing their food with the dog.
2. Ignore The Begging Behavior
If your fur baby already has the habit of begging for scraps, you have to ignore this. Begging is a form of attention seeking behaviour. You need to teach your dog that begging will lead to you ignoring her. Abstain from looking at your dog when they are begging. Do not speak to your dog, and do not touch. Ignoring your dog completely while they are begging will reinforce the fact that begging is not going to work any longer.
3. 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 stay command before you teach this one. 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 need a lot of treats. Using a single word 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 your dog reaches her place, give lots of praise and a treat. Repeat.
Now that your furry companion goes to their spot every time you want them to, increase the amount of time they spend there. You can do this by waiting a few extra seconds before offering treats for obeying your command.
When your dog masters this trick, you can use it every time you want to eat without them begging for food.
4. Keep Your Dog Distracted
Begging for food can’t be your dog’s favourite activity. Surely there’s a favourite toy or a fluffy slipper they enjoy chewing? Save that special toy or dog chew and offer to your fur baby while the rest of the family eats. This should keep your dog distracted by something they enjoy giving you the opportunity to eat your meal in peace. Another good option is to distract your dog with their own food. Feed your dog right before you serve your own meal. Ignore if they comes begging. When you and your family finish your meal, pick up their bowl whether finished or not. Your doggo will quickly learn that they need to finish their meal before you finish yours. This will keep them distracted while you eat, so they 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 behaviour 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.