How to train your dog not to beg food
Training your dog not to beg food is a challenge for many dog owners and it’s not really easy especially with those sad puppy eyes right in front of you. But the key is to be patient and consistent if you want to break this bad habit. It might take a while but when your dog finally understood what he is allowed and not allowed to do; you will have a great dog that enjoys listening to you. It’s a win-win because food is of high value to a dog and many dogs will do anything for food.
6 steps for breaking the habit of begging:
1. Avoid paying attention or do not make eye contact with your dog while you’re eating. This in itself can be rewarding and doing so will set him up to expect something and will encourage begging.
2. Inform all your family members and friends who are visiting your house to never give food to your dog even if it’s “just this once”. Random reinforcement will keep the behavior alive because it is the strongest form of reinforcement. If you and your family members are consistent and do not easily give in, the behavior will eventually stop and your dog will no longer beg for food.
3. When you’re eating, keep your dog in a sit, down/stay command and let him remain there until you finish your meal.
4. If you can’t keep your dog on a sit or down/stay command and you still want him in the room with you, try putting him on a leash that is hooked onto something so he can’t come over to the table.
5. You can also place him in his crate while you and your family member eat your meal.
6. Give him his favorite dog treats. It will keep him occupied while you and your family enjoy your meal.
Consistency requires patience and commitment from you and your dog to stop the begging from the table. Below are some guidelines which you can also try:
1. Preparing your family’s meal and your dog’s meal at the same time and then leaving your dog’s meal at the kitchen counter will also do the trick. Dogs will most likely follow where their food bowl is and will choose to wait for you to give it to them. Give your dog’s meal only after you finish eating.
2. Ignoring your dog your dog will eventually stop him from begging food because he’ll know that it no longer works. Ignoring means: you and your family members must not look, talk or touch your dog during mealtime. It might get worse before it gets better as some dog may try to bark or jump or do other annoying behaviors to get your attention, but if you and your family member continue to ignore him, he will eventually stop.
3. Once you’ve finished your meal, you can put any table scraps you want your dog to have in his food bowl but get him to sit first before feeding your dog. You need to be very consistent with this process every meal because your dog needs to learn that he’s only allowed to feed on his dog bowl.
As with all behaviors, you will get whatever you reinforce. So you have to decide what exactly you want your dog to do and not do. So set things up, stick to your rules and then reinforce it. It will be very beneficial for both you and your dog. Also remember that not all dogs change overnight, you have to stay consistent to your rules and don’t give up on your dog. With patient and discipline, you will have a better behaved dog!