You know the story by now. You and your family sit down to the table to start eating and immediately you hear the jingle of dog tags as your furry friend jogs into the dining room to take his customary position at your right side, staring woefully at your plate. Even if you’ve never indulged your dog, begging is a common and often times embarrassing behavior that can be very hard to stop
Why Dogs Beg
Begging is not a behavior that your dog is born with. They don’t sit and beg from each other in the wild. Rather, it is a behavior that is learned. They know that when they sit patiently and quietly in front of you, they will be fed. They may never even have been given food at the table, but that calm, patient stance is the same one they take on when you feed them dry food each day and it works great, so why not when you’re eating your meal?
Don’t Let it Start
The easiest way to curb begging is to never let it start in the first place. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but if you have a clear idea of what your dog wants from you, it will be far easier to decline it to him when he tries to beg for it. If your dog somehow starts to beg, never give him any attention – even negative attention. While most of the time a dog is trying to get food, there are plenty of dogs that will continue to beg just to get you to pet them. Create boundaries that keep your dog from entering the same room as you and your family during mealtime. This will tell him that he is not allowed to stand near you, let alone beg for food from you when you’re eating.
Stopping Begging That’s Already Begun
There are a few things you can do to stop begging once a dog has already started begging. To start with, stop feeding him any table scraps. Then, make sure that your dog is not allowed to be in the same room as you when you are eating. You can use a crate to contain the dog during mealtime, or you can simply train him not to come into the dining room or kitchen at all. Both methods work well for laying out boundaries for a dog that begs frequently. If he doesn’t follow those boundaries, you may need to work on alpha positioning.
You’ll need to be consistent if you want to keep your dog from coming near you when you are eating.
Be firm, give commands to go and sit elsewhere and then follow through. If he only moves five feet away and continues watching, reaffirm your command and make sure he leaves. Begging is a tricky one. It’s a learned behavior that a dog will pick up fast. Even just a couple of lucky table scraps in his direction will teach your dog that he can get something from you with the right look and enough patience. Maintain patience, set boundaries and make sure your dog knows that begging is not okay and slowly he will discover that begging at meal times is not only a bad thing, but that it will get him in serious trouble.
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Akinluyi Jerry is a young entrepreneur, Animal lover, Dog Consultant and Security expert, CEO of Jeak’s kennel and securities. Certified dog behaviourist and Pro trainer, Popular Dog Columnist of ‘Jerryandyourdog’ with over 100 published articles, Member of international association of canine professionals (IACP) .A graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile ife and National K9 School.