The things that you can try to stop the begging behavior of your dog are ignoring the dog, keep him away from the dining table, keep the dog busy with toys during your meal times and tiring him out with exercises before you have your meal. If the dog’s begging behavior has not completely gone away, it is also important to caution your guests.
Dogs have been close to the man and are considered man’s best friend for millions of years, and man shared meals with his dog. A dog begging for food is a very common behavior that is irritating; we tend to overlook this issue until your dog embarrasses you in front of your guest.
We all have witnessed this, especially when the family is seated at the dinner table an the dog starts looking at you with pity eyes and drooling, jumping on your laps or barking. Dog owners can prevent this kind of behavior by training the dog while its a puppy.
Why Do Dogs Beg?
When a dog spots food or when suffering from hunger, the urge to beg kicks in. This is a genetic trait born in them and activated whenever they spot food from the owner.
Ages ago, the only way a dog can have a meal is if he sticks around his owner or goes into the field to hunt down wild animals.
Wild dogs and wolves have these traits in them, and you can find them scavenging for human food around the homes. Many dog owners find it hard to stop this kind of character mainly because we created this mess ourselves.
Ways to Stop Your Dog From Begging
1) Ignoring Your Dog
If you feed your dog when it starts begging, then you are the one to blame. This will only make him beg each time you are having a meal. The dog might even begin to back at you when you don’t reward him or her with food. To kill such character in your best friend try ignoring him. Start by avoiding feeding him near the table.
Also, while you are having your meal avoid acknowledging your dog even if he keeps whining and backing. Don’t talk to your dog while at the table eating unless it is a command you are giving the dog.
No matter how loud and irritating he gets, do not yell at him while he is begging. This kind of attention will reinforce this bad begging habits.
Avoid eye contact with your dog. Any eye contact with the dog, especially when cooking he will consider it as attention and the begging will never stop unless you ignore him completely.
2) How to Stop a Dog From Jumping Up At the Dinner Table
If you trained your dog to move to another location or go to sleep, these might stop him from begging. If he is not trained, take him out, or to another room, this will keep him out of sight and less whining from him. Eventually, he will get used to being away when the family is having a meal.
If he is still a puppy and you can’t confine him in the crate or go to another room while you are eating, then you should train the puppy. The best time to train your dog to go to the crate it is when there is no food on the table. This ensures that he cannot be distracted by food.
If the dog did not listen to you and continued begging even when locked in the crate give it a time-out. Take your dog to another room with no food or toys, after a few minutes bring him back. If he continues to beg, take him back to the room.
The dog will now know his lousy behavior leads him to the boring room. Your dog may whine and bark while in time-out, try to ignore him till he stops, only then can you bring him to the rest of the family.
3) Involve Everyone in the Family
If one member of your family is feeding the dog at the table be sure the dog will never stop begging; instead, it will start reaching out to the food on top of the table. Bring your family together and explain why the dog should not be fed at the table.
Take caution when talking to your kids about feeding the dog at the table. Kids have a kind heart that can be influenced when the dog starts begging.
Do not let guilt kill you. The dog will not hate you or hold grudges against you or anyone in the family. If you are an emotional person, you can later treat the dog with a healthy meal, but if only he behaves well. It is also essential to teach table manners to the dogs.
If you have kids in your home, and they are continuously dropping food when they eat, this is a way to encourage begging. It is easy to let the dog eat the fallout, but these will encourage the dog to stick around the table.
Try teaching your kids how to eat without dropping food to avoid the dog coming to eat at under the table. You can also use napkins to hold the food when the kids are having their meals.
4) Share Meals With Your Dog Away From the Table
While you are cooking, you can take a piece of what you are cooking or eating at the table and take it to the dog away from the table. These will let him know he can only have his meals away from the table and must be served by the owners.
If you are sitting at the dining table, you can toss a piece of meat a few feet away. This will make the dog learn that the only way to get food is by staying far from the table.
You can tether the dog away from the table using a leash. For a while, he will continue barking an whining at you, but he will stop eventually. After a few days of this routine, remove the leash and see if he improves on his begging habits.
When treating the dog, make sure you are away from the dining table or the kitchen. This is to teach him that he can only get rewards away from the kitchen or dining table.
5) Hire a Trainer
If you are less persistent than your dog, you should consider getting professional help from a trainer with excellent skill. The advantage of hiring a trainer is that other bad habits will be corrected.
Make sure your dog is familiar with the “lie-down” command before you can fix his begging. The dog and his owner need to attend these lessons so that the owner can sharpen his commanding skills.
You can hire a trainer as soon as the dog comes into the family and set the rules clear and make the dog aware of what he is expected to do. The time that your dog takes to learn not to beg depending on the breed of your dog. Different breeds have different levels of intelligence. Here’s a guide on how to hire a good dog trainer.
6) Keep the Dog Occupied
During mealtime, give the dog a toy to play with while you eat. This will entertain him as you enjoy your meal in peace. You can also serve the dog food away from the table. If the dog finishes the food and comes to your table, ignore him.
Also, when you are done eating, immediately pick up the dog’s bowl whether he ate it or not. This will help him learn that he must eat his meal only during mealtime. You can also eat in turns, one member of the family can play with the dog while the rest enjoy the meal.
7) Exercising Before Meals
Take the dog out in the backyard or driveway and throw a ball for him to fetch for about 20 minutes, make the dog jump over barriers, go to the streets and walk around the block you can take your bicycle and make your dog chase you or visit the dog park and let him play with other dogs.
When you return home, feed the dog and give him water or milk. These activities will tire out the dog. After eating, he will fall asleep, leaving you and your family to have a peaceful meal.
Some dog breeds tend to be independent, but this does not mean it does not want to play and bond with the owner. All you have to do is spend at-least 40 minutes a day to create a bond and friendship with your dog.
You can take advantage of this time and train him other skills that involve energy like how to attack and pin down an intruder.
8) Teach Your Guest the Basic Rules
You might strive hard to make the begging habit stop, but all these can be in vain when you have guests over, and they are uninformed. These will bring back the begging habits. To avoid this, kindly explain about the begging habits and let them learn the rules.
No matter how guilty they feel, the guest should never feed the dog at the table. Some of your guests might not be familiar with giving a dog command. Advice them to seek help whenever the dog starts begging.
9) Feed Your Dog Well
You might have done all the above, and nothing is working out, consider checking if the dog is well fed on a balanced diet. A hungry dog will always have a craving for food. Even if he is trained hunger can make him disobey your orders.
His survival instincts will mislead his judgment. Feed the dog at least two times a day and the puppies three times a day. Feeding your dog with your family’s leftovers is just fine, but make sure the leftovers are placed in the bowl and taken to the same spot he eats from.
10) Put the Dog in the Crate or Dog House
If your dog is not trained to stay or go to a place, put him inside a crate and leave him there. He will bark at you, but eventually, he will learn barking will not get food in his stomach. While they are in their space, make sure they have some distraction, maybe a toy of bone. This will make him feel entertained and not imprisoned.
Keep in mind consistency is key when training your dog. Make sure when you say no to the dog you mean it and your facial expression says no too. No matter how hard-headed your dog is, be tolerant and don’t curse or yell at the dog.
It is wise to choose your pet dog wisely depending on your handling capabilities. Some dogs are easy to handle than others; when it takes longer for the dog to eliminate the bad behaviors don’t blame the dog, keep trying or seek help.
It is very crucial to stay strong throughout the training, don’t give in even when your dog is howling and barking. It is heartbreaking to see him in this state, but its the only way to behave, once the dog stops begging, reward him and give him little attention.
You can also take your dog out to the various restaurants which allow dogs but do check with them if they have any restrictions on the breed of dogs.
Lastly, avoiding giving human food to your dog won’t kill the begging behavior. People think that feeding the dog with the food that we eat will influence the dog. No matter what you feed your dog, with no proper rules and commands, he will still beg.