When it’s time to eat dinner, do you have a furry friend right at your feet, just begging for a bite or two? It’s okay to admit that you have given in, and fed your dog from the table every now and then. However, in doing so, you are reinforcing this unwanted behavior. In addition to this, you have to be very careful about what people foods you are giving your dog and also make sure they aren’t getting too many calories and becoming obese.
To combat this begging behavior, the following are some steps you should take.
Feed Your Dog First
Right before it is time for you to eat your dinner, take your dog to a separate room and feed him or her. Sending them to another room is a great way to prevent them from begging at the table in the first place.
Prepare a Comfortable Spot for Your Dog
So, your dog has finished eating, and is still coming over to the table to ask for a bite of your food? The next thing for you to try is sending them over to a comfortable spot that you have prepared just for them. It should be near the area where your family is eating, so that they can feel that they are still a part of the festivities. Place a cozy bed nearby, a crate, or a mat perhaps. Give your dog the “stay” command so that they know that they should not move from that spot during the remainder of the meal.
Don’t Give In
If none of the above helps and your dog is still begging, the worst thing that you can do is give in. If you do, you are teaching your dog that if they flash those big eyes at you, they will get what they want. If you scold your dog for begging, you are just giving them negative attention. The best thing you can do is ignore them.
Another alternative is to have a food-stuffed toy available such as a Kong, so that you can offer it to them instead. You can use this to occupy their time while giving them a quick snack.
Reward Your Dog
When your dog has forgotten all about begging and has listened to your suggestion of going to their bed and laying down, that is when you should quietly walk over and give them praise and a treat. Avoid giving them a treat while you are sitting at the dinner table or that may just confuse them.
Examine Your Dog’s Diet
Is your dog constantly ignoring his food bowl, but begging at your dinner table? If this is the case, it may be time to change your dog’s food. As always, it is a good idea to get a recommendation from your veterinarian on the right food to give to your dog, and how much to give them each day. Your vet will also need to rule out any illness if your dog has decided not to eat their food.
Don’t Let Your Dog Near the Table in the First Place
Logically, perhaps the simplest solution to keep your dog from begging at the dinner table is to physically not let them come near it in the first place. Baby gates are one way to make that happen. Another option is to put your dog inside of their crate at mealtime.