At some stage, we’re all guilty of surrendering food to our beloved pups. Afterall, those big ole puppy dog eyes can be pretty hard to resist. However, begging for food can become a problem for many paw owners. Dogs are clever creatures and quickly catch onto the methods that fill their bellies. Not only can it become a troublesome habit but feeding your dog dinner scraps can sometimes lead to upset tummies and potential weight gain.
We’ve put together some tried and true tips. Finally, you can enjoy some peace and quiet at the dinner table! Before we get into the meat and potatoes, here are a few quick tips to look over:
- If possible, don’t let the habit of begging for food settle in.
- Ignore all begging attempts from your dog.
- Don’t feed them at the dinner table or from the sofa.
- Get your entire family on board.
- Coordinate your mealtimes with theirs.
- Don’t let your pup be a post-dinner vacuum.
- Distract your pooch with a tasty treat (away from the dining table).
- Reward good behaviour.
- Practice ‘Stay’ and ‘Let go’ commands.
Ok, time for the main course. Follow along as we discuss detailed and effective methods for getting your dog to stop begging for food at the dinner table…
Firstly, Don’t Let Begging For Food Become a Habit
The only reason dogs beg for food is because they know from previous experience that it works. Begging usually starts with sitting at the feet of the person holding the food. Those puppy dog eyes kick in, usually followed by whining. Simply acknowledging these efforts can stimulate your pup to keep pursuing that morsel. Therefore, it’s crucial to consistently ignore begging antics from your dog. This means not responding to their begs at all. It’s best not to look at them or say anything. As mean as it may feel, you’re going to have to ignore them until they give up. Our paw pals like to be adored – not ignored! This will stop a bad habit from settling in as they know begging behaviour doesn’t work.
What’s even better is to get your dog used to eating only from their bowl – not from the table, sofa, or floor. Remember – “just this once” means always possible – in dog lingo.
Unfortunately, it takes a village (AKA your entire family) to make a change. Consistency is key! Get everyone on board to ignore all begging behaviour from your dog and feed them only during their mealtime (apart from rewards of tasty dog treats).
When It’s Too Late…How To Get Your Dog To Stop Begging For Food
It’s too late, your furry friend’s table manners are out the window. Don’t worry! All is not lost; you can train your dog out of begging for food. It’ll take a little organization on your end – followed by consistently ignoring begging as we mentioned above.
Coordinate Your Mealtimes
Set up your pup’s dinner first, right before you have yours. That way, he or she will have theirs and you’ll have yours at the same time!
If your dog tends to be a vacuum each time your kids eat – feed him or her in a different room. Once your kids have finished eating and the remains of dropped bits of food are cleaned up, let your pooch back in.
Distract Your Furry Friend
Unfortunately, coordinating every meal isn’t always convenient – when this is the case, find an alternative activity for your dog. Before your mealtime, provide a distraction such as a toy or offer a yummy pork bone for them to enjoy (so long as you can keep a watchful eye!). This can keep them happily preoccupied, away from the mindset of interrupting your dinner. Winner winner, pork bone dinner?
Reward For Good Behaviour
It’s true, our fur babies aim to please – but they also like to be rewarded for good behaviour. Rewarding your pooch with treats and a cuddle when they sit down quietly, away from the dining table can be a powerful tool to reinforce good behaviour – while remembering to ignore (and not punish) any begging actions.
Practice ‘Stay’ & ‘Let Go’ Commands
Getting your furry friend well practiced in these commands will help you communicate what you want.
Use ‘Stay’ when there’s food around, so they learn to sit or lie down quietly on their doggy bed or a specific spot while you eat.
Use ‘Let go’ when they pick up off-limits food in their mouth. ‘Let go’ can be especially useful if they pick up something that could potentially harm them (like a corn cob!).
We hope our post, filled with lots of tips and tricks for how to stop a dog from begging, was helpful! Although it may take patience and perseverance – it’s possible to train a dog to have admirable table manners and to stop them from begging at the dinner table. It’s worth it – we promise!
Low on treats to train with? Stock up today – so you always have them on hand whenever your pooch is using their best manners.