Does your puppy take to begging at the table while you’re eating? This is one of the most common problems with behavior new owners face, and unfortunately, not as many looks to correct soon.
Dog begging at the table can be really distracting, and when left unchecked, really spoils your dog more than is necessary.
Here are some great tips to get your doggy to stop begging at the table and behave during mealtimes.
1. Don’t Pay Attention
If you humor your dog’s bids to get your attention, you will only encourage his or her behavior further.
Seeking to calm or comfort your dog, petting him, or even looking at him when he is begging would lead him to believe that his actions are okay and that he would get what he wants.
Their thinking tends to be pretty simple – if I have my person’s attention, I can expect him or her to meet my needs soon. Giving him that attention only encourages and reinforces the behavior.
So ignore him, for now, until you’re done with your own meals, so he understands that you’re not going to respond to him when you’re eating.
2. Fix Meal Times and the Place and Don’t Deviate
Having a more or less consistent schedule for your pup’s meals – separate from your own, of course – is a good way to make him understand he’s unlikely to be fed whenever he wants to eat.
Also, try to set a fixed place where your dog will feed, and preferably away from your dining room or table, so he doesn’t directly associate your dining spot with his own.
And, most importantly, do NOT feed your dog from the table, or any other place other than his own bowl at his feeding spot, and preferably – do not feed him unless it’s his own mealtime.
3. Training to Wait Away from the Table
Train your puppy to not disturb you while you’re eating by making her sit or stay away from the dining area until your mealtime is done.
This is, of course, possible only when your doggy is trained in those commands. Treating her to a special treat or leftovers when she’s well-behaved and doesn’t indulge in begging will reinforce the good behavior and set a pattern.
Also, remember to follow the first rule to stop dog begging – ignore her and don’t pay any attention until you’re through yourself.
If your pup isn’t trained well in the sit or stay commands, you might have to leash and tether her to a designated spot away from your dining area until you’re done.
For untrained dogs, it’s advised that you keep them in view when tethered, so you can keep an eye on them lest they choke or hurt themselves in excitement.
Giving them a favorite toy or something tasty to chew on could be great to keep them distracted from your own meals, and helps them understand that they’re not really “left out”.
Alternatively, crating is another great option, especially for excitable or energetic dogs, and the ones who are quite content to hang out in their own “spot” inside the crate.
Crating is also a good method to use initially when you’re training your dog to keep calm and wait while you eat. Once he or she begins to understand what you expect and behaves, you can move on to a leash or just a stay command.
Again, reward your pup if he or she behaves well to reinforce it!
6. Don’t Feel Sorry!
Lastly, do NOT feel bad about leaving your pup out of your meals!
You know better than anyone how well you feed your dog and that you take great care of him. He’s not going hungry!
Just because he doesn’t get a few scraps off your plate doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world, no matter how sad his cute puppy face looks as he begs.
If you’re worried about whether you’re feeding him enough or not, there are plenty of sources to check with, including your vet!
So grit your teeth, be firm, and DO NOT GIVE IN. And, do let us know what you think about these tips and any other thoughts you may have in the comments section below!