Begging is a very common behavioral problem faced by many dog owners. Often it becomes a sneaky challenge to eat a snack or a meal with their dog following their every move. Many dogs will additionally start whining, pawing and drooling, while others may even go as far as to try and jump up and help themselves to your meal. While it might be funny at first, it can get quite annoying to look at this every time you eat, especially when you have guests:
As we love our dogs so much, their puppy eyes can easily melt our heart and we might be tempted to share just a little bite with them, just once.
Giving in to your dog’s pleading will only make things worse: Not only does it worsen the behavior problem but it can also lead to health problems. Not everything we eat is good for our dogs as it often contains too much salt or harmful ingredients. Also feeding dogs table scraps is a common cause for obesity.
When are beggars, choosers?
If you feed your dog regularly then why should they be hungry for your food? Sometimes the begging might show a more serious underlining problem: Your dog might be not getting the right amount of nutrition in their regular food or they are starved of attention and see begging as a good way to get it.
How do you find out what’s the problem?
A great way to start is by looking at the food your dog eats. Is your dog’s food filled with quality ingredients or mostly byproducts? Inform yourself, what foods are the best for your dog, and make sure your dog is getting the right nutrients he/she needs everyday. If you are already feeding high quality food, you might try to add some sardines, tuna (in water!) or an egg once in a while to your dogs food to “upgrade” his diet. If a poor diet is the cause, this change can stop begging almost instantly.
If your dog’s nutritional needs are met and the begging problem continues, you may have to re-evaluate the amount of attention and interaction you are giving your dog. Have you been working long hours recently? Does your dog get enough play-time and walks? Setting aside a play or walk time for your dog before meals may help in the process of correcting begging behavior.
If none of these are the problem and your dog still begs, good news: you just have a bad habit to deal with. If this is the case, some training is required. The most important thing you have to remember: Consistency is always key. It’s simple, if your dog continues to get food from the table, your dog will continue to beg for more.
Do not feel sorry for your dog If your dog is being well fed. Your dog is not in danger of starving if you do not give them that scrap off the table.
Tips to get rid of the behavior
As we just mentioned, the begging should never be reinforced. Make an effort with other members of your family and friends by kindly reminding them to ignore the table-side beggars during meal times.
If your dog is trained, make him lie down in a distance or in his dog bed during mealtime. By getting your dog to leave the area it helps remove the food as a distraction. Try giving your dog something else to do. Before you sit down to eat, give your dog a chew or a stuffed/ treat dispensing toy. Keeping them busy while you eat will help them associate your meal time play time. It may keep them busy—and distract them from begging.You can also start feeding your dog the same time as your family eats. Feed your dog in a separate room, give them their meal as you enjoy yours. This could help distract your dog and allow you to spend time with your family wile eating.
Resist their puppy eyes and be consistent
Be patient as few dogs change overnight, but consistency is the key to success. Make sure your dog learns, that his begging is ineffective 100% of the time.
Don’t punish the begging behavior by yelling or hitting your dog. Not only is it ineffective but it can also damage the relationship with your dog. Go with the smart approach of ignoring or redirecting the inappropriate behavior. Good luck!