Help, my dog is begging at the table!
Do you have a begging or scrounging four-legged friend running around the house? If so, it can be quite annoying. Dogs are of course by their instinct quite fixated on food. But the typical begging behavior they exhibit is mainly learned by the owners themselves.
And this we understand from time to time. If your dog with his huge puppy eyes stares at you, you can sometimes hard to stop you from him something good to slide. Unfortunately, this encourages the annoying begging behavior. This can be disastrous for both the owner and the dog for several reasons.
Dogs are smart animals and when dogs beg, it is because we have taught them to and your dog knows how to manipulate you to get what they want. Do you find it also pitiful that you can eat as good as every day something new whereas your dog gets every day the same food or do you also want show your love to your dog by letting him feast along of your meal? It does happen often and in several families but still, this is absolutely not the best way to act. Let us explain why!
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Dogs do not make the same association with food as humans do. For us, food is a social event, it is something cozy to share with your family or friends. It is a moment of relaxation and enjoyment. Unlike dogs, for them food is a means of survival. As soon as they smell food, they start making an effort to get it. In a life-threatening situation it may be that begging is pure necessity but in modern home situations this is absolutely unnecessary, our dogs get enough food and therefore do not need to beg.
Dogs do not link begging (or eating from the table) to love from their owners. You rather show them love by giving them clarity, the correct food, play with them, ... But rewarding by giving food from the table does not belong here.
So it's time to unlearn it! You can do this with the following tips:
#1: Consistency is a priority
Even though it is not easy, when unlearning begging you must be very consistent. No more giving your dog food if he begs, not even a very small piece or on a special occasion. If you want to reward him with something sweet, grab a treat or a chew and give it to your dog at a time of your choosing.
#2: Keep your table manners and your dog separate.
Try to keep the "eating moment" and your dog separate. It often happens that the dog lies under the table while the family is eating but this is better not done. A dog that begs can cause restlessness at the table as they often try to get a piece of the food. It must therefore be made clear to the dog that he is not part of the eating moment. Send your dog, possibly with something tasty such as a chew, to his basket. This will make it clear to him that when the owners eat, he must leave them alone.
Tip: Do you have a new puppy? Then be sure to teach them this from the beginning. Eating time for the owners? Dog in his basket!
#3: Ignore bad behavior
Has your dog been used to begging for some time? Then it will make it a lot harder for you to unlearn this. It is possible that they ask for attention, squeak, bark to get your attention to get that one chunk out of your plate. Do not punish him for this, do not get angry or raise your voice but ignore him for a while. Because by giving him attention in any way while begging, you are rewarding him. So ignore him every time he shows begging behavior or send him to his basket and then say "good" or "good man". In the beginning you will have to repeat this countless times, but patience is a beautiful virtue. Over time, your dog will understand that begging is of no avail and will stop doing so.
It seems that begging is very difficult to get rid of but in practice this is not so bad. The main thing is to remain consistent, with patience you will come very far. You will do yourself and your dog a great pleasure with it. Your dog healthy and happy and you can enjoy your meal in peace again. Hang in there and good luck!