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How to Stop Dog Begging

Pet Peeves: I'm Begging Him to Stop Begging!

Q: My dog has the very annoying habit of begging for food. It's especially bad when we have people over for dinner – he literally walks from person to person waiting, sometimes jumping with paws up on their laps to see what's on the table or go for the food right off their fork (or plate) – help!

A: Consistency is key to solving this problem. After all, dogs can't magically tell the difference between "OK begging" and "not OK begging" so you must make begging never OK. While banishing a dog to another room is one option, space may not make this possible . . . and, with enough effort, you can retrain your pup.

I'd recommend never giving your pet any treats while you are making or eating food. (Right before dinnertime is not the time to work on a sit-stay.) Teach your furry friend that he's not going to get food just because you're preparing food. In fact, I make North do a full sit before I put his dish on the ground – he's not allowed to go to it until I give him the release command.

See one more tip when you keep reading.

I like to give my pet a long-lasting toy or treat just before a meal with company. Offering it up to him before everyone takes their seats will not have him mistakenly perceive this as a reward because he hasn't had a chance to start fussing yet . . . and keeps him occupied, too!

Source: Flickr User plasticrevolver

Sara-Yoo Sara-Yoo 5 years
 @Ellenora These are great tips! You're right: sometimes distraction is the best anti-begging remedy of all. In fact, it works great on humans, too! :-)
Ellenora Ellenora 5 years
Another way is to feed your pup before dinner. A full tummy reduces the need to beg.   If you're going to give your pup a human meal (Zena gets a human meal as dogs actually bore of dog food!) and it's from our meal, I make it before we sit down and then put it by the fridge to cool off. I find putting it on a counter where her water dish is, she is more likely to stare at her bowl thinking, "I want, I want, I want!!!!" then beg from me!   If you have a yard, sometimes letting them run around in the yard is great too. Zena sometimes forget about the smell of food, so we sometimes get ten to twenty minutes of peace before she notices there's food and slams on the back door!   Oh, if you give your dog a vigorous walk before you plan on eating....they're usually too tired to beg. I learned this one time. Zena can beg, but she can't beg all that well when she's beat from a 20 minute vigorous walk. Just to let you know.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 8 years
Thankfully my dog doesn't do a lot of begging at the table. But when she does I tell her to "Go on" and she gives up and walks away. I agree with Pet. Don't give your dog any treats when you are cooking or eating.
JessNess JessNess 8 years
Definitely stop hand feeding your dog. If you occasionally want to give them a special treat then place it in their dog bowl First off my dogs are not allowed in the kitchen specially when food is being made. If they come in I tell them out and back them all the way out of the kitchen. Every time they come in I tell them out. Keeping them out of the area where food is being prepared is the first step because they can't sit there and watch food being made and wait for scraps to fall. The same technique should be applied to a dinning room. There is just no reason for them to be in there. I also train my dogs to leave food alone specially if it is on a table. I sit or lay the dogs down and place "human" food directly in front of them. As soon as they make a move for it I make a noise like EH (a loud disapproving noise) and take the food away. Once you do this over and over they learn to leave the food alone and it also becomes less interesting to them. If they jump on your lap looking for food, immediately stand up and say no. This motion shows the dog that you do not approve of their behavior. Consistency is KEY
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
We're in doggy school right now and we're learning to hold "Down Stay" where the dog lays down and stays for extended period of times. The "goal" for our homework is for him to down stay through a whole meal. I never thought it would be possible, but I've worked with B-Bop a lot and now he's up to a 15 min down stay! Maybe something like that will help him learn. They say to give them a bed or a special area to do this in, so the dog knows to go to their special spot when people are eating. Good luck!!
wren1 wren1 8 years
Oh man, I have this problem, too, when we're with company. He's so bad during the holidays. I'm going to try giving him a Greenie when we eat.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 8 years
Pet is right. I will say that my dog knows who she can beg from and who she cannot. She will not jump up on me or the hubby but she jumps up on my Dad. LOL! So, she knows who's rules to follow and when. Another example is she is not allowed to lick the dishes while they are in the dishwasher but she is allowed at my parents. She knows the difference.
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