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Behavior Mod.

How to Keep Your Dog from Begging for Food

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Although basically harmless, begging behavior in dogs is distracting and irritating. For humans, eating can become uncomfortable when we know we are being watched by our hopeful, drooling pet.  While our pooches deserve to eat peacefully; so do we. Fortunately, there are things that we can do to keep our dogs from picking up this annoying behavior.

Why Fido Begs for Food

Begging in dogs is not a normal, instinctive canine behavior; instead, it is a learned response. Meaning, at some point in your pooch’s life, he came to understand that begging has favorable outcomes. Begging starts at the time when your family begins sharing people food with Fido. Either someone slips your pooch something from the table that he does not like, or a generous family member passes him some leftovers or lets your dog lick his plate clean. It does not take very long before your dog starts to wait by your table habitually as he drools in anticipation of those delicious leftovers that he knows he will get. As soon as you begin feeding your pooch from anything that you eat, you have taught him to actually ask for more.

Ways to Out-stubborn your Pooch

You can never really blame Fido for begging at your table. However, if you wish to change this canine behavior, you can do so by controlling your dog’s access to the table or by teaching him to do something else instead.

  • From the first day you bring Fido home, try to establish a mealtime routine: when it’s time for your family to eat and for your dog to be crated, or at least, placed in a different room as the family meal. By putting your pooch out of sight during mealtimes, you can avoid giving in to his irresistible stares and whines.
  • If you can’t put him in a separate room, try feeding him at the same time your family eats. This way, Fido will be too busy with his own food to be concerned with yours.
  • Each time your pooch approaches you or other people while eating, immediately give him a firm command to make himself stay put or go elsewhere. You can ask him to leave the room, go to his crate, lie down, or stay.

As you can see, these helpful techniques have a lot to do with removing your pooch from the scene. This sort of negative reinforcement is truly what will work best along with thorough refusal to surrender to his strong begging.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Of Judy



    I have 6 dogs and none of them beg … nor do the foster dogs I train. I have watched friends feed their ‘pups’ from the table and admonished them to no avail. And then later, as the dogs are older, have watched them beg and be annoying at the dinner table because of the ‘training’ the owners have inadvertently done by teaching their dogs to beg.

    I can sit in my recliner with a plate of food, and not one of my dogs ever makes a move to bother me! They get up in the chair (it’s big enough for several dogs!!) and lie down.

    Great article. Wish more people were smarter … they create their own dog monsters unwittingly. :-\

    I don’t feed treats during the day either — unless we are training. My dogs eat raw carrots for evening snacks — we feed in the morning. They get a dog biscuit reward (medium-size) when they get in their dens/crates at night to sleep.

    My non-dog person neighbor watches all 6 of my dogs when I travel, and she follows the word commands and routine set out; and I love hearing her praise my dogs while I am gone and upon my return because they are so good! I love trained dogs! I love my dogs. In fact, my dogs attract a lot of attention because they heel beautifully when I walk 3 of them at a time — and my neighbors have come out to meet me and tell me how impressed they are! It’s a great way to meet people … I now know almost everyone within a several block radius of my house.

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