Is your dog staring at the food and giving your meal a sight of puppy eyes and drooling? You’ve got a dog begging!
Just like humans, dogs are highly attracted to good smells. You may have cooked up a delicious meal and found your dog sitting and eyeing your meal, and may even attempt to pounce to get closer. It’s definitely a behavior to fix.
Begging behavior is absolutely not one to accept and ignore — it is a sign of lack of authority and manners on your part as well. Furthermore, it’s a sign of improper upbringing and conditioning.
However, do not worry! We’ll explain everything behind the begging dogs, how to prevent such tendencies, and most importantly, how to stop it.
A Begging Dog: Why?
Hate to be blunt, but you’ve unintentionally taught it.
It’s easier to accept that dogs begging behavior is innate, however, it is a learned behavior through conditioning. Over time, your dog takes notice that pawing, barking, whining or a simple gaze, catches your attention.
Although, some dog lovers do teach their dogs to beg, in exchange for a food reward. The danger of such conditioning lies in your dog’s inability to recognize what to beg for and what not to. Eventually, your dog will beg for whatever they desire with no distinction.
If you’ve responded to their begging behavior repeatedly, your dog is aware that their begging behavior is effective.
How to Teach A Dog Not to Beg
Let’s face it, it’s easiest to prevent a problem than to fix it.
Undoubtedly, the best prevention is restricting access to your food and table. While you prepare and sit down for meals, you may keep your dog away with a baby gate, a cage, or a leash with chew toys for distraction. However, this does not teach control and solely takes care of elimination.
Ideally, you’d like to teach and condition controlled behavior.
The best way is to start from day 1. From day 1, never give your dog food scraps straight from your plate. If you wish to share some leftovers, set it aside, and place it in their bowl after you eat. We understand the temptation induced by their puppy eyes, but stay strong! You’re doing it for them as well.
If you’re currently in the progress of training your dog, a handy trick to teach is the stay command. In the event, you’d prefer physical distance from the food and table, condition the stay command on their mat or preferred spot. It may take some time, but it’s worth it!
But it gets real when we address how to stop your dog from begging.
How to Stop Your Dog Begging for Food
Sometimes, it’s just too late and the damage has been done.
Although don’t worry, we’ve got a few tricks and tips for you. According to DogHealth, proven tips are as follows:
- Complete cut-off: Starting right now, do not feed them table treats while you’re eating. It may be tough with those seducing eyes, but do not give in!
- Limit access: During meal times, enforce physical distance as you prepare and eat your meals. While they’re in restriction, make sure to leave them a chew toy to keep them company!
- Stick to a Schedule: You can opt to synchronize your meals! Although, the important aspect is keeping your location and theirs, separate. If you wish to share, add it to their bowl — never directly from the table!
- Counter-condition: If your dog begs for food or your dog begging for a treat, state a command that counters the dogs begging for food. Examples are fetching or lie down. Additionally, you could use the stay command to keep distance as well.
- Earn & Reward: Applicable in almost every aspect, your dog must learn that they have to earn their reward. You can achieve this by only providing rewards after reaching a calm sit-stay scheme.
- Punishment is Ineffective: Loud volume commands and statements will not help! These only result in confusion and potential stress on your dog’s part.
It may take some time to fix a conditioned behavior such as your dog keeps begging for food, however, with patience and time, this can be reversed!
Additional Tips: Puppy Begging
In addition to the six core steps, here is a few additional tips to get started.
Arrange a hierarchy of treats: low, mid, and high. For easy commands, such as “sit,” settle for low-level treats. On the other hand, for complex conditioning, like if they stop dog begging, offer high-level treats such as meat. Although, keep in mind to never feed on the table!
In the event of misbehavior, a time-out area may help your dog. The sole requirement of the area is to create a form of confinement. After you spot an ongoing begging behavior, lead them to the time-out area to stay for a couple of minutes, and then set them free. Repeat this process every time they misbehave.
The Final Verdict
Adjusting your dog’s begging behavior may seem challenging to the extent of preferring to ignore and accept it.
If you’re caring for a puppy, insuring to stop the dog from begging can be done with conditioning over time and patience.
However, it’s evidently a different story once your dog starts begging on a regular basis. Full disclosure, reversing such behavior is a challenge but it’s far from impossible!
The most important thing is to keep the steps and tips in mind, and apply them regularly! Get ahead of it and learn how to teach your dog not to beg.
Patience and time are the keys.
Take care, dog lovers!
Featured Image Source: Misael Moreno on Unsplash