Why Dogs Beg
We love our dogs so much that we spoil them with table scraps and the result is a dog who begs! It’s easy to cave when we look into those sad brown eyes, but you are being manipulated! Your dog knows just how to act because it has worked before. If you can discipline yourself, you can stop a dog from begging because this is one of the easiest behaviors to reverse.
Wolves were domesticated by man in the process of begging for scraps so this is instinctive behavior and comes naturally to dogs. Dogs have evolved big sad eyes and floppy ears to get the attention and care they desire. In fact, they share a lot of characteristics with wolf puppies rather than adult wolves.
3 Techniques to Stop a Dog from Begging
The best way to keep your dog from interrupting your meal time by begging is simply to not give them anything. You must have willpower and make it a strict rule to never give your dog scraps of food from your plate while you’re eating. Not even one time! All family members must do the same or else your attempts will fail and you will be back at square one. Be consistent and don’t scold your dog one day while company is there only to give in to him the next day. If you really want to teach your dog not to beg you are going to have to learn to stop giving in.
Ignore His Begging
For a dog who begs even a single scrap one time gives him the idea that his efforts might pay off the next time. Ignore your dog completely. Do not look at him or speak to him while he is begging. Do not shoo him away just ignore him. Eye contact could cause you to give in. Any attention at all might make him think he’s about to get food. He might whine and fuss a lot because it has worked so well in the past. Remember not to equate food with love and continue ignoring him during this bad behavior. Eventually it will dawn on him that begging gets him nothing and the behavior stops. Your dog is not starving and should stick with his healthy dog food. Table scraps of human food can be bad for your dog’s health and actually reduce their lifespan.
Keep Him Out of the Room
Train your dog to lay down in another room while you eat. Take him over to his favorite dog bed and praise him with treats when he lays down and stays put. Let him know that sitting quietly while you and your family sit down to eat will yield him the best reward. Another barrier option is a baby gate. If he’s crying from the next room you must not give in, no matter how cute he is or what sounds he’s making. Make sure everyone in the house knows this.
Redirect His Attention
If you prefer to have your dog near you while you eat redirect his attention to some food, toys or treats of his own. Try stuffing some peanut butter inside a Kong, or some other chew toy that will keep him busy. Praise him whenever he is playing with his toys. Keep ignoring him if he begs and eventually he will realize his begging isn’t paying off anymore.
Be patient, few dogs change overnight. If you’re consistent and decide to stick with it begging can be quite easy to correct. It just takes patience and consistency. In any kind of training, consistency is the key to success. For your dog to learn that his begging behavior is ineffective, it has to be ineffective 100% of the time. Inconsistent enforcement of the rules leads to an inconsistently obedient dog! Make sure that every pack leader in the household understands and enforces the same rules. If you have followed these tips to the letter and your dog continues to beg, don’t despair! Stay consistent and don’t give up. Your reward will be a better behaved dog!
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