If your dog begs for food at the table, it is probably an educational mistake that we made in the past. When we sit down at the table, and our dog stares at us while we eat with their puppy eyes, most of the time, we feel sorry for our pet. We say to ourselves: “Okay, I’ll give them something tastier just this one time’’.
Then it happens again and again and the dog develops a habit that begging at the table pays off. When we stop feeding them during our meals, they continue to sit close by and wait. They begin to wonder what to do to get something from the plate because they used to get it. Begging puppy eyes come with whining, poking us with their paw, putting their head on our knees, or, in the worst case, barking. Usually, it works and just for our peace of mind, they get the food and so they learn the pattern.
Additionally, it can become awkward when we have guests. Our pet’s behaviour and loud demand for food can disturb the friendly atmosphere. So how to teach your dog not to beg for food?
Prevention is easier than treatment
If you have just adopted a puppy, introduce clear rules right away. These rules must be followed by all members of the household, as well as visitors. Even one ‘’accident’’ is enough for your dog to learn that it is worth begging for food. If we don’t give in to their first begging attempts, we can be sure that they will quickly give up this behavior, because it simply won’t bring them any benefits.
If our pet has already learned this behavior, whether it is because of our mistakes or we have adopted a dog with such a habit, the most important thing is to stay consistent. It is a bit harder to overcome this problem than prevent behaviour but it is not impossible.
The most important thing, in this case, is to ignore the unwanted behavior, even though at first it may be annoying. The dog needs to understand that their effort won’t bring them anything. Initially, the begging may intensify as the dog will continue to try and figure out other ways to finally get the food. You should be prepared for barking, taunting, and whining. You should not react to this in any way – don’t push your dog away or shout at them. Just pretend that you don’t see it. Your pet, after some time, will understand that they will not get food from the table, no matter how hard they try.
“Stay” or “Place” commands can be very helpful with this issue. When you sit at the table and the dog is restless, try to use the ‘’Place’’ command to send them to their bed. You can teach both of the commands in Dogo App.
When the dog is in their bed or a separate room, you can give them an olfactory mat, Kong, or any other interactive toy, so that they focus on something else than you dining. There is a little trap here that you should avoid: your dog shouldn’t associate your every meal with getting a treat so be sure not to use it every time. Remember to subtract these treats from your dog’s daily food ratio to avoid overfeeding your pup.
Time and consistency
To summarize, there are 3 most important rules to follow when you struggle with a dog begging for food at the table:
- Your pup always eats their meals from their bowl (except for training or olfactory/interactive games).
- NEVER feed the dog during your meals and ignore their begging.
- You eat first, and then the dog gets their food.
Every dog is different but ignoring the begging and introducing another activity instead (training commands, olfactory games) will quickly bring positive results. Just remember that nobody should feed your dog at the table, not even guests, so be clear in introducing the rules to your friends and family.