by Jessi Larson
How frustrating is it when you’ve just sat down to eat and suddenly you have an eager little furball looking up at you, begging for food?
This behavior can range from adorable to obnoxious. Either way, it’s best to nip it in the bud. After all, you’re not the only one who has to deal with it. So do the other people in your house, and even worse, the unsuspecting guests who come over to visit.
Plus, this behavior is quite unhealthy.
Here’s how to break the habit and stop your dog begging for food:
- Don’t feed them from the table. And not just you, everyone in the household. Make sure it’s a universal rule that everyone abides by. Because it’s incredibly confusing to your dog if this is allowed on occasion but then they get punished for coming back for more.
- Make your dog sit. Far enough away from the table. And tell them to stay. If they wander over and start begging again, gently guide them back to the spot and have them sit once more. They don’t have to sit there the whole time as long as they don’t go back to begging. If they wander off to do something else, that’s totally OK.
- Ignore them. Another deterrent is to just ignore them. Don’t justify their behavior by giving them attention. One note: This works better for smaller dogs who can’t physically reach the food without your consent.
- Give them a time out. Say you’ve tried #2 and #3 and they just won’t stop begging, then it’s time for a time out. Place them in their kennel or in a seperate space.
- Watch for sneak attacks. Dogs are clever little buggers. They may stay away from the table at first, but some circle back and look for a window of opportunity to grab food. (Kind of like a shark…da nuh…da nuh…) We’ve seen dogs grab full sticks of butter when grandma wasn’t looking. Imagine that surprise.
- Place human food in their bowls. Giving your dog human food is OK as long as it’s pet approved, but we recommend placing it directly in their food bowl. And make them sit first. This signals that this is the only spot where they should be eating food.
- Don’t feel sorry for them. As a good mom, you’re feeding them their regular meals with a few treats peppered in. Despite their sad doe eyes, your dog is not starving.
- Have patience and don’t give in. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It will take time to break your pup of these pesky habits. But remember to always have patience and don’t back down. You’re doing the right thing!