Begging for food is quite easy to prevent from becoming a problem, but a bit more challenging to curb once the dog has already learned that begging is worth while. Some owners may think its cute initially (when the dog is a small puppy), but before you know it, you’ve created a monster who ruthlessly harasses you for your dinner. Here are a few tips for curbing this bad habit.
1. Ignore your dog while you are eating. Do not look at him, talk to him or touch him. If he jumps up on you, guide him off of you (or body block him) without saying anything or even looking at him. Pretend like he does not exist (no matter how much barking or whining is happening). Know that the behavior may get worse (the dog may try harder) before it get’s better because the dog is saying “Why isn’t this working!” STICK WITH IT. Eventually your dog will learn that begging is no longer worth his while.
2. Make sure the entire family is on board with Fido ONLY eating out of his bowl. No food from the couch, table, counter etc. If you decide to give Fido part of your dinner, give it to him in his own bowl as part of his meal.
3. If your dog knows how to Sit/Stay or Down/Stay, place him in the position during meal time (if not, we can help you learn how to accomplish this).
4. Teach your dog to go to his place which would be a rug or mat away from your eating area. You can even tether your dog (attach his leash to something solid nearby) to this area to help reinforce the stay while you eat.
5. Manage your dogs behavior by placing him in his crate or gating him in a different room.
Whichever method you choose, be consistent. If your dog has been getting scraps for some time, it will take time for him to unlearn this habit. Stick with your training method of choice and be patient.