Dogs are highly food-motivated, so it’s no surprise they often beg for food from our tables. And as cute as those puppy dog eyes can be, giving them scraps from your food only reinforces begging behavior, making them more likely to do it again. Over time, this begging turns from cute to annoying.
So, what can you do to stop your dog from begging for food? For starters, you can train them to have good manners and keep them well-fed. You can also try these eight tips and tricks to get them to stop begging.
The 8 Tips to Stop a Dog from Begging for Food
Try these tips and tricks if you’re ready to nip that begging behavior in the bud. Keep in mind, though, that breaking your pup of this behavior may require a bit of time, a lot of patience, and tons of positive reinforcement.
1. Keep your dog away from the table
This is the simplest, no-brainer way to get your dog to stop begging—not letting your pup into the room during mealtimes will definitely put an end to any begging. You can simply shut the door to the room or use a baby gate or something similar to block access. You can also place your four-legged friend in their crate during mealtimes so they can’t bother you. If you aren’t going the crate route, though, be sure you leave your dog with a puzzle toy or something else to occupy them while you’re eating.
2. Feed your pup first and in a room other than where you dine
Feeding your dog before you sit down to a meal and in a separate room will keep them occupied with their own food while you’re eating your own. Plus, they’ll be full, too, so they have less reason to beg for part of your meal.
3. Occupy your pet
In general, occupying your pet during mealtimes is a good idea and great way to prevent begging. Give them their favorite toy or a challenging game to do while everyone is eating, and they’ll be so busy with it, they won’t think to beg.
4. Train your dog to go to a certain cozy spot during your meals
Teaching your dog to go to its own spot during meals will dissuade begging. You’ll want to start out by telling them to “go to their spot” while you’re in the process of making a meal (you’ll likely need to walk them over the first few times). Reward them with a treat (one of their own, not people food) when they do as told. Eventually, they should get the hang of things. Having a nearby spot of their own means your dog gets to socialize with the family still but isn’t able to beg at the table.
5. Teach your pup basic obedience commands
Don’t only teach your four-legged pal to go to their spot during mealtimes; teach them other basic commands such as “stay” or “leave it”. Doing this can stop or redirect begging behavior. For example, if one of your kids accidentally drops a piece of food on the floor and your dog wants to get at it, you can tell them to “leave it” to stop them from doing so.
6. Another easy way to lessen begging is to ignore it when it happens
We know it’s hard when your pet looks so cute but giving your dog any kind of attention when they demonstrate negative behavior is just reinforcing it.
7. Ensure everyone is following the rules
If you make a rule about not feeding your pets from the table, make sure everyone in your family is following it. Otherwise, your dog will end up confused, and the behavior won’t end.
8. Change your dog’s diet
Is your pup ignoring its own food dish in favor of begging? Or only eating a bit of its own meal before doing so? Then it could be time to change up your pet’s diet. There’s a good chance your pup isn’t eating their own food because they dislike it, so find a healthy food that they’ll love!
It might take a little time to train your dog out of begging behavior, but it can be done! With these eight tips and tricks, you should soon have a happier household free of begging. Whether you decide to teach your dog basic obedience commands, occupy them with something during mealtimes, or bar them from the room, your pup will eventually get the message. Just remember to ignore any begging that does occur, as attention only serves as positive reinforcement to your pet, and ensure everyone is following any rules made about giving your furry friend table scraps.
Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock