Train Your Dog to Stop Begging for People Food
Aww, look at those eyes, and that sweet face, how can you turn him down?
It isn’t uncommon for dogs to beg at the dinner table, or just whenever food is being eaten by humans, but it isn’t the best habit your dog can develop.
Why do dogs beg? Let’s get real…the food just smells good, and you’re eating it…what more reason do you need? Another very primal reason…it is said that dogs originally became domesticated by eating table scraps. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but neither reason should be grounds for your dog to beg.
First of all, let’s begin by saying:
“Table scraps, people food, are not good for your dog!”
…But your dog doesn’t know that, it’s up to you to safeguard his health.
- People food is typically too fatty for your dog, and can cause digestive problems.
- Some foods are literally poisonous for Fido:
- Alcoholic beverages
- and many others
- People food can contain unnoticed bones in it that can harm your pup
- Human food can cause obesity
Second, it can lead to other bad behaviors:
- Becoming a relentless beggar
- The taste of table scraps can be more tasty and interesting to your dog, causing him to stop wanting his own food
- Begging when you have guests in your home
- Taking begging one step further and climbing up on the person or the table
No more begging…
Obviously it’s best if Fido never begins begging in the first place, but if he does, it’s time to begin training your dog to conform to better behaviors. Here are a few helpful ideas…
- EVERYONE in the family needs to be consistent with the “no begging” rule, including guests….no sneaking treats from the table.
- One family had a Sheltie who would beg by laying his chin on their lap at dinnertime. (It really was cute!) After awhile, the dog learned not to do that anymore, but then “Grandpa” came to visit, and could not stop himself from giving handouts, and the begging began all over again.
- Teach your dog to go to “his place” while you are having your meal…it can be a blanket, a pillow, a rug. Fido needs to stay there while you are eating, and if he gets up from his place and returns to the table, give him the command to go to his place again. It may take a few times to get him to understand what you want, but he will get it and it will be worth it. You could also offer him his favorite chew toy while he is in his place.
- Be firm, but stay calm, cool, and consistant, especially when your dog is in training. It doesn’t do any good to yell and scream, that only gets everyone upset.
- Ignoring your dog while he is begging will send the signal that you are not paying any attention to his efforts, but you have to ignore him completely before he gets the message, which means no petting (petting acts as a reward for a behavior you want to stop.)
OK, I have to be honest…
- I save meat scraps (not the fatty bits) and use with treats for that “extra something”
- I also joke all the time when people bring this up about about dogs eating people food… My dog doesn’t eat people, neither do I!
- I am ok with scraps, hot dogs and cheese, or whatever being given to the dog as Training rewards and conditioning rewards. Cut into miniscule pieces, put meaty leftovers in a bag with a scoop of kibble in refrigerator for training later. This makes kibble a more exciting reward and gives you bonus rewards to use.
- Feed your dog after you eat…. Not before! Or BEST PRACTICE : feed dogs via stuffed Kong on his dog bed while you are eating. It auto-shapes polite wait-on-your-bed behavior, satisfies the hunting instinct of working for the food by digging it out of the Kong, and rewards the dog for great behavior that is likely to reoccur! Eating from the dish does not do it.
Pawsitive Steps Dog Training’s techniques are based around one simple question:
What do you want and expect from your dog?
We believe that the most effective method of dog training revolves around teaching your dog what you want them to do, how to behave, how to act in their environment, and what appropriate behaviors are under given circumstances and situations.