Begging is a common behavior problem faced by dog owners. It can be frustrating to have your dog hounding you for food every time you take out a snack or sit down to a meal. There are a few things you can do to stop dog begging.
Dog Begging: Don't Reward the Behavior
Managing this behavior is one of the toughest parts for dog owners. When confronted with a pair of pleading puppy eyes, it can be hard not to give in once in awhile and toss a little nibble from your plate or snack bowl. Unfortunately, if you give in even once, it’s going to be that much harder to put an end to this behavior.
When you’re trying to train yourself not to give in to this behavior, be sure to keep your dog’s health in mind. It’s much easier to resist feeding the dog scraps from your own plate if you remember that it can lead to obesity and a number of health problems for your pet down the road.
Train the Dog With a Place Command to Stop Begging
One way to stop dog begging is to teach your dog to go to his place on command. His place can be anything from the rug under the sink to his crate. Practice this command, and whenever you sit down to a meal, have your dog go to his place. If he fails to remain there while you’re eating, put him out of the room (or leave the room yourself, if that’s easier) for a minute or two, and then bring him back and try again.
Keep the Dog Occupied
You can save a special treat, such as a stuffed Kong toy, to give your dog at your own mealtimes. This will keep him occupied with something he enjoys, and gives you the opportunity to enjoy your own meal in peace.
Another option is to feed your dog his meals at the same time you are having yours. Place his food down for the duration of your meal. Ignore him if he comes to you and begs. When your meal is over, pick up his food bowl whether he’s eaten or not. Your dog will quickly learn that he needs to eat his own food at mealtimes if he doesn’t want to go hungry.
Make Your Dog Work for It
Many dog trainers recommend training a dog that he must work for any reward, a method often referred to as Nothing in Life is Free. Rewards include food, attention, walks, etc. Have your dog sit before you put his food bowl down or wait until you give the okay before he charges out into the yard. Your dog will quickly learn the behaviors you like (i.e. the ones that get him what he wants), and you should see fewer of the unwanted behaviors like begging because he will never get rewarded for this type of behavior.