It’s hard to resist your dog when he places his paw on your leg, looks up at you with those big, sad eyes and whimpers softly while you’re having dinner. If you develop the habit of slipping your dog a little extra something under the table, you’re encouraging a behavior that can become downright annoying! All those extra calories can also lead to an obese, unhealthy pet.
Dogs don’t beg just because they’re hungry — they also use begging as a way to gain the attention of their owners. Some dogs won’t go away until they’re rewarded with a scrap of food accompanied by a gentle pat on the head and a “good boy!” for their efforts.
If your dog’s begging has gotten out of hand, you can correct the behavior with relative ease. Here are a few tips that will allow you to enjoy your meals in peace:
- Ignore him. This can be tough, especially if your dog continues to whine and plead throughout the meal. It will also take some time, but even the most insistent dog should eventually get the message that begging doesn’t guarantee any goodies or attention will be coming his way. Avoid scolding or even making eye contact with him while he begs. You must be consistent: Even one “slip up” will make him think that there will be more treats to come, and you’ll have to go back to square one in your training efforts.
- Coincide meal times. Try feeding your dog his own food at the same time you are eating with your family. You’ll satisfy his appetite keep him occupied and lead him away from the table all at the same time.
- Train him to go to his “spot”. Teach your dog to go to a spot such as his bed, crate or mat during mealtime. Use his favorite dog treats to motivate and reward him for his acceptable behavior.
- Limit table access. If your dog simply won’t stay away from the table, you may have to limit his access to you while you’re eating. Use a baby gate to keep him from entering your kitchen or dining room. If this doesn’t work, place him in a closed room with his favorite toys to keep him busy. If you have a wireless fence, you have the best option of them all. Just put him outside where he can play and explore while you finish your meal.
- Tire him out. Taking your dog for a long walk or engaging in an extended play session with him just before dinner can wear him out. He may be more interested in taking a nap than bothering you while you’re trying to enjoy your meal.
Don’t Feel Guilty
Many dog owners eventually give in to doggie demands to alleviate their own feelings of guilt. As long as you’re properly feeding your dog and giving him plenty of love and attention away from the dinner table, you shouldn’t feel guilty about ignoring his pleadings. You’re not punishing your dog by refusing to give him something that he doesn’t need! And with appropriate training, your dog’s begging should eventually stop altogether.
Does Your Dog Beg
Is your dog a persistent beggar? Tell us all about it in the comments below. If you have your own solutions to stop him from begging, share them with us on Facebook.
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