Written by Dog Spotted
Raise your paw hand if you’ve experienced the following: your family sits down for a scrumptious home-cooked meal, you pick up your fork,, but before you take that first mouth-watering bite you’re interrupted with puppy dog eyes staring at your plate. Maybe they even start whining or sit on their hind legs, paws resting atop the table, with an appetizing line of drool dripping to the floor.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Dogs begging is something dog owners frequently complain about. It’s certainly not a behavior you want to encourage – especially if you’re having guests over. So, how do you get your beloved four-legged pal to stop begging? Here’s how.
1. Avoid Feeding Your Pup from the Table
Even if it’s on a special occasion or just one time, by feeding your dog from the table you can guarantee your pooch will be patiently waiting by your side for every meal moving forward. Let’s face it, those adorable wet noses tend to tug at our heartstrings, making it insanely difficult to resist the urge to sneak them a little bite. However, this is a habit that’s hard to break – so, if possible, avoid feeding your adorable pooch right from the very start.
2. Is That Max? I Don’t See Any Furballs Here
Ignoring your pooch completely can be highly effective. Even if your pup is whining, by offering her attention, you’re inadvertently reinforcing the unwelcome behavior. That includes any type of yelling, scolding, or using your “angry” voice to communicate your unhappiness. Research published by bioRxiv discovered that screaming or using aversive-based training methods can negatively impact your dog’s well-being in both the short and long term.
The thought of traumatizing a pup for life is heart-wrenching. Instead of raising your voice, simply pretend your pooch isn’t even there. While it’ll take patience and consistency on your part, your tail-wagging pal will eventually get the message and carry on with their day.
3. Human Meal Time = Doggie Meal Time
Another tactic you can use to discourage begging is to feed your dog at the same time you eat. Whether you’re setting the dinner table for your family or chowing down on a quick salad for lunch, make sure to put some grub in your pup’s bowl too. Not only will your pooch be distracted by their own food, but when you satisfy their belly, they’ll be less likely to start begging.
4. Secure Your Pooch Away from the Table
This functions much like a training exercise. Simply use your pup’s leash to tether them in a comfortable place away from your sweet-smelling cuisine. Similar to ignoring your furry canine, patience is important here, as they may bark or whine when first adopting this new routine. While this type of behavior is something that should consistently be addressed via training, they’ll eventually quiet down. Over time, you’ll be able to remove the leash and rest easy knowing your cuddly pup will keep his distance.
5. Distractions for the Win!
Use meal times as an opportunity to spoil your pup with a little fun. Whether they have a special bone or you give them a treat-dispensing toy to play with, leverage eating times to provide your pooch with a toy or activity that they only get when you eat. This will distract your adorable tail-wagger while you chow down on dinner and it’ll keep them from feeling left out of mealtime.
6. Clean Up Pups Need Not Apply
This is a tough one – especially for dog owners with children – as they tend to be a little messy and drop food as they eat. As alluring as it may be to enlist your pooch as your post-meal clean-up crew, it’ll only encourage your furry friend to beg for food whenever you sit down to eat. Let’s face it: busting out the broom or Swiffer isn’t synonymous with “fun,” but it’s better than dealing with unrelenting begging every time you want to enjoy some grub.
All doggie parents are faced with begging at some point. By using the above practices and summoning a boatload of patience, you can effectively train your pooch to be a well-behaved ball of fur during meal times. All it takes is a little consistency!
What tricks do you use to distract your pooch during your mealtime?
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