Dog begging for food is one of the most common behavior problems that dog owners face, but also one of the most difficult ones. I mean, who can say no to those big, puppy dog eyes? Not easy at all! An unfortunate side effect of loving our dogs so much is that we would like to give them everything that they want. Begging may seem cute, but it can actually lead to bigger problems like jumping, pawing and even barking. So what to do?
Understand the begging behavior
First of all, it is important to understand the begging behavior. Begging is actually a learned behavior, meaning someone has taught the dog that begging works. Dogs are relatively simple creatures and if they perform a behavior that results in a reward, they will repeat the behavior expecting a reward in the future. Luckily, with the right amount of consistency, begging is a behavior that can be corrected quite easily – If it doesn’t result in a payoff, your dog will have no reason to repeat.
How to stop dog begging behavior
- Do not give food to a begging dog. Your dog has learned that if he begs, he gets rewarded with food! Try to start a new trend. Find the willpower to ignore those wide, wet eyes and withhold that food. Eventually, your dog will learn that he can’t expect rewards for begging behavior.
- Feeding schedule. Feed your dog at the same times every day. This way he’ll learn when it’s time to eat and when it’s not. You can even try to make your family dinnertime your dog’s dinnertime too. Then your dog is occupied with his own food while you are eating yours. Just make sure to keep his bowl far away from the dinner table.
- Ignore your begging dog. Begging is an attention-seeking behavior. Rather than give in to your dog’s demands, ignore the behavior and teach your dog that it does not get results.
- Be consistent. If you give in after a half hour, you’ve just taught your dog to beg for at least a half hour to get his reward. In any kind of training, consistency is the key to success. Also, tell every member of your family to quit giving your dog food from the table, food from the couch, food from the chair, food from the desk etc. Everybody in the household has to be on the same page and has to understand and enforce the same rules.
- Distraction. Give your dog a toy to play with to keep him distracted through dinner. Or, teach your dear pup to do something else instead, such as lying down and staying on a mat or bed.
- Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and dogs don’t change overnight. Should your dog forget that he is not allowed to beg, calmly correct him. Stay consistent and don’t give up. Your reward will be a better behaved dog!
Enjoy your meal! 🙂