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Articles and Advice from our Pet Expert

Tips to Stop Dog Begging

You may have learned to ignore your four-legged friend lurking under the dinner table, but when guests come over dog begging can be more of a nuisance. Fortunately there are a few simple steps you can take now to get your dog’s begging under control so you won’t have to worry about it during the holiday season.

#1: Feed your dog last

Feeding your dog after the family finishes dinner will show him that he ranks last in the household. While we love our pets and want them to feel a part of the family, we have to establish this rank so that the dog won’t try to climb the social ladder. If the dog feels there’s a chance he could move up, he’ll feel entitled to eat the same food at the same time we do – meaning he’ll bother people while they are eating.

#2: Never feed your dog table food

Not giving in to those precious, sad eyes can be difficult, but you have to be consistent if you’re serious about stopping your dog’s begging. If he thinks there is a chance the begging behavior might work (because it has worked on occasion in the past), he will continue to do it. Also, feeding your dog table food can be dangerous, as some human foods aren’t safe for dogs and too much table food can lead to obesity.

#3: Reward calmness

Teach your dog that it is calm behavior that results in treats and attention, not obnoxious behavior. You can do this by putting a treat in your closed hand and not opening your hand or offering the treat to the dog until he is in a calm state. If he starts jumping around, whining or engaging in some other sort of begging behavior, ignore him. Once he’s calmed down and behaving appropriately, reward him with a treat and your praise.

#4: Separate during mealtime

It may be necessary to crate your dog or put him outside during mealtime. This will prevent him from bothering you while eating, and further establish his ranking. However, make sure that the dog isn’t in a location where he can see you eating. This will frustrate him and he’ll likely whine or whimper.

#5: Use distractions

While you can use the above techniques leading up to the holidays, they may not be realistic when you’re entertaining. Since snacks tend to be served all day on holidays, keeping your dog locked up or feeding him after everyone else eats would probably mean keeping him alone and not feeding him all day! You would probably like to share the celebration with your dog instead of separating him from it. In such case, instruct your guests not to feed the dog any table food and provide distractions for the dog so he will stay busy instead of bothering your guests. This might be a good time to present a bone or new toy that you’ve gotten for the dog as a present.

We hope that these tips are able to help you have a calm and enjoyable holiday season with your dog! You and your guests will have a more peaceful celebration thanks to your pre-training, and your dog will likely be able to enjoy more celebrations with you if he learns how to behave appropriately.


Written by:

June 1, 2011

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