"Please, sir, I want some more." As you’re trying to enjoy a meal, you can almost hear the words of Oliver Twist when your dog gazes at you longingly with wide, emotive eyes. Begging is one of the most common behaviors among dogs; while it can range from cute to disruptive, it is never a good behavior to promote.
Simply put, begging teaches a dog poor manners, which can then spread out into other areas of the dog’s life. The dog may not listen to commands or may even begin nipping or becoming defensive due to the begging behavior. It is wise to nip the problem in the bud.
Teaching a Dog not to Beg
There are many ways to discourage begging and different pet parents prefer to do it in a variety of ways. While some rely on an “out of sight, out of mind” approach, others choose to train the dog to retreat to a neutral area during dinnertime, thus promoting good behavior and utilizing the prevention method all at once.
- Prevention: As with many doggie behavior issues, the easiest fix is prevention. By limiting a dog’s access to the table, a pet parent can limit the dog’s ability and motivation to beg, thus creating a better eating experience for everyone involved.
Many pet parents opt to shut their dog in another room during mealtime and some simply train the dog to retreat to another area, such as a crate or bed, during the meal. This serves two purposes: it promotes good behavior in the dog and strengthens commands like “stay” and “sit.”
- Crate, Blanket or Bed Training a Dog: If you are one of the pet parents who would rather have your dog spend dinnertime on his bed or in his crate, the training should start before the begging does. When the dog is very young, start working on commands like “go lie down” or “kennel.” When the dog masters these commands and executes them willingly and easily, start testing the command out around dinnertime.
If the dog responds, offer plenty of praise and rewards. If the dog gets up and begs at the table, gently reinforce the command and redirect him back to the designated area. With enough repetitions, the dog will master the command and dinnertime will be a seamless experience.
Good Training Makes for Good RelationshipsAlthough dogs that beg can sometimes look cute, it is important to remember that this is a damaging habit that promotes poor behavior and sub-par obedience. Additionally, even though you think your dog’s begging is cute, it is likely that friends and family will not, which can lead to tensions surrounding your beloved pooch. Fortunately, it’s easy to break the dog’s begging habit by practicing prevention and simply keeping the dog out of the dining area or by crate, blanket or bed training the dog. Regardless of which method you choose, it is clear that dinnertime etiquette extends to more than just your human companions.