When you’re training your dog, the goal should be not only to encourage good behaviors, but also to eliminate bad habits. One of these is begging at the dinner table. This can easily escalate into barking and howling, so it’s important to keep this behavior in check from the time the dog is very young. Here’s how to stop your dog from begging:
- Ignore the dog. When your dog starts to beg, ignore the action. If they learn that begging elicits a response, any response, they will be more likely to repeat the behavior. Begging is a learned behavior that your dog repeats because it gets results.
- Do not give in. It is a lot easier to just give in, feeding your dog table scraps to stop the whining and begging. This, however, only encourages your pet’s bad behavior.
- Teach your dog to beg for treats. By teaching your dog to beg on command, you’ll be able to stop them from begging at inappropriate times, like when you’re eating dinner. To teach your dog to beg, hold a treat near your dog, and wait until he begs for it to let him eat it.
- Teach a “no” command. Every dog should learn a command such as “sit”, “down,” or “no.” This is useful for stopping many bad behaviors, including begging. Once you’ve taught the dog to beg, teach the “no” command by holding a treat out, and loudly say “no” when your dog tries to jump at you to get the treat. Later, when your dog begs at the table, the same command can be used to stop the behavior.
- Provide a diversion. If your dog always begs at the dinner table and you’re having difficulty teaching him not to, provide a diversion before you sit down to eat. Fill your dog’s food and water dishes, and consider giving your dog a toy to keep him occupied while you’re eating. If he gets his own treat during dinner, he won’t be begging for treats off your plate. Establish a dinner routine for your dog that will keep him away from the table. If necessary, you may want to plan for dinnertime to be crate time for your dog.
- Don’t reward with table scraps. Don’t allow your kids to get the dog to do tricks for a bite of their dinner, and don’t let your dog lick any plates. This will just teach them that people food is good, and that people food can be found near the dinner table. As soon as you feed him something you’re eating, you’re teaching him to beg for your leftovers.
While begging is an essentially harmless behavior, it can certainly be annoying, especially if your dog begs incessantly every night while you’re trying to eat dinner. Luckily, most dogs can be trained not to beg.