6 Easy Steps To Getting Your Dog To Stop Begging For Food - Jim Burwell’s Petiquette

Stop Your Dog’s Begging for Food – 6 Easy Steps

Don’t feed your dog from the table in the first place if you don’t want begging

But if you’re reading this, you already have the problem of a begging dog.

Your dog begs at the table.  So many dog owners initially think it’s cute or just want their dogs to have “just a taste.”

Before you know it, you’ve created a monster — right there at your dinner table.

First – Here are 6 Quick Stop-Gap Steps To Break Your Dog’s Habit of Pressuring You for Food at the Table

  1. Avoid paying attention to or looking at your dog when you are eating. Paying attention to your dog will encourage the begging. You are setting him up to expect something.
  2. Tell every member of your family to quit giving your dog food from the table, food from the couch, food from the chair, food from the desk etc. He should only be eating food from his bowl.
  3. When you are eating, place your dog in a sit/stay or down/stay and have him remain there until your meal is finished.
  4. If your dog will not hold a sit or down stay and you want him in the room with you, then tether him to something unmovable so he can’t come over to the table. Of course, this means your dog is on leash and the leash is hooked onto something.
  5. Place your dog in his crate or if you have taught him to ‘go place” have him go to his place and stay there.
  6. Should your dog break his sit/stay, down/stay or place, calmly get up, return him to the stay position, repeat “stay” and walk away.

You Need to Understand the WHY So You Will DO the What

The process of fixing any dog problem should always begin with asking yourself a question like, “What would I prefer my dog to do instead.

Let’s take a look at 3 different approaches to fix your dog’s habit of begging at the table

  1. The mechanical approach – detailed above
  2. Next is  the training approach
  3. My favorite is the behavioral approach

The mechanical approach to  begging

  1. Crate your dog away from the table. Give him a stuffed Kong toy (or other food dispensing toy). He can’t get to the table to beg
  2. Tether your dog away from the table  Again – Give him a stuffed Kong toy (or other food dispensing toy) He will focus on this instead of begging at the table.

The training approach to stop the behavior

  1. Train your dog to down/stay away from the table. This teaches him a stationary command so he doesn’t come over to the table to beg in the first place
  2. Train your dog to go to his place away from the table. Trains your dog to leave the area of the table and go lay on his bed so again, he won’t beg.

Feeding your dog appropriate people-food leftovers is perfectly fine. As long as the leftovers are placed in the dog’s bowl and the bowl is placed in his usual feeding spot AND he has to give you a sit before he gets anything.

The key here is to be consistent and patient. Food is of high value to a dog and if you’re trying to break behavior YOU created don’t blame the dog if it takes a while. You and your dog can break this bad habit together.

The Easiest and Best Approach to Consistently, Reliably Get Good Manners

This approach lets your dog figure things out on his own.

This is the best and most long lasting— BUT it does requires patience and commitment from both you and your dog to stop the begging from the table.

  1. Prepare your family’s meal and your dog’s meal at the same time. Leave your dog’s food bowl on the kitchen counter and eat your meal. The next step is critical at every meal.
  2. Ignore your dog and he will eventually stop begging because it no longer works
    1. Here’s what “ignoring your dog” means: all family members must not look at, talk to or touch the dog during mealtime
  3. Understand that his behavior may get worse before it gets better as you ignore your dog. This is where your patience is tested. If he is barking, he may decide to jump or do other annoying behaviors – Just ignore – no laughing, just eat and stick it out and it will eventually stop.
  4. Once you’ve finished your meal, put any table scraps you want your dog to have in his food bowl, get him to sit, then feed your dog.
  5. Be very consistent with this process every meal
    1. Some dogs figure out begging doesn’t work anymore and just wander off and lay down on their own.
    2. Others may choose to wait by their food bowl – the new best location to receive any table scraps if that was your option!
  6. Once he has stopped begging you then decide:
    1. If just laying quietly on the floor at the table is fine or,
    2. If you prefer him to settle down away from the table. It will be much, much easier to train going to place or down stay away from the table if you first stop the begging.

There you have it.  6 ways to get your dog to behave at  meal times. 

It’s always best to be pro-active rather than re-active when training your dog which is why I always teach you how to get the best behavior from your dog.  When your dog understands what he is to do and when he is to do it, – bad behavior is greatly decreased or eliminated.  You have a great dog who listens to you and enjoys doing the training.  It’s a win-win.

The key here is to be consistent and patient. Food is of high value to a dog and if you’re trying to break behavior YOU created don’t blame the dog if it takes a while. You and your dog can break this bad habit together.

Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”

(C) Jim Burwell