My advice is don’t begin to feed your dog from the table in the first place. But if you’re reading this, you already have the problem of a begging dog. So many dog owners initially think it’s cute or just want their dogs to have “just a taste.” Before you know it, you’ve created a monster — right there at your dinner table. Here’s how to break this bad (and unhealthy) habit.
- Avoid paying attention to or looking at your dog when you are eating. Paying attention to your dog will encourage the begging. You are setting him up to expect something.
- Tell every member of your family to quit giving your dog food from the table, food from the couch, food from the chair, food from the desk etc. He should only be eating food from his bowl.
- When you are eating, place your dog in a sit/stay or down/stay and have him remain there until your meal is finished.
- If your dog will not hold a sit or down stay and you want him in the room with you, then tether him to something unmovable so he can’t come over to the table. Of course, this means your dog is on leash and the leash is hooked onto something.
- Place your dog in his crate or if you have taught him to ‘go place” have him go to his place and stay there.
- Should your dog break his sit/stay, down/stay or place, calmly get up, return him to the stay position, repeat “stay” and walk away.
Feeding your dog appropriate people-food leftovers is perfectly fine. As long as the leftovers are placed in the dog’s bowl and the bowl is placed in his usual feeding spot AND he has to give you a sit before he gets anything.
The key here is to be consistent and patient. Food is of high value to a dog and if you’re trying to break behavior YOU created don’t blame the dog if it takes a while. You and your dog can break this bad habit together.
Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, “Opportunity Barks!”