Begging might be cute, but it’s not very polite. Here’s how to teach your dog to keep to himself when you’re eating.
Are you frustrated by the wet nose at the edge of the dinner table? Is your dog glued to your side whenever you have a snack? These simple tricks can help you stop your dog from begging for food.
1. Pick the right spot
A simple method for teaching your dog not to beg for food is to create a safe and comfortable place for him to hang out when you’re eating, such as a dog bed.
Once you have a designated spot, start taking him to the spot and using a command like “place”, “spot”, or “bed”. Ask him to sit or stay, and always reward him for listening.
Where you sit is important too. Whether you are snacking on the couch or sitting down for a meal, some areas make for easier access to your food. Eating at the dinner table places the food out of reach, and often out of sight, so eat there whenever possible.
2. Cut him off
If you feed your dog while you are cooking or eating, stop. You may need to coordinate with everyone in the house to make sure that the rules are the same no matter who your dog gives those “puppy eyes” to.
Dogs are smart enough to target the weakest link in the house, so be on guard. Kids are usually the lowest hanging fruit, but you never know – dad might be the surprise softy sneaking food under the table.
If your dog is always on the lookout for fallen crumbs, teach vocal commands like “leave it” to reduce the temptation to jump at every delicious opportunity.
3. Sync your meal times
A great way to distract your dog from your food is to give him his own. Before you sit down to eat, feed your dog his own meal. A full dog is less likely to beg for food.
If your meal times don’t line up, consider offering a toy, puzzle, or natural chew to keep him busy and stimulated so that you can enjoy your meal in peace.
This is a great way to teach him to play by himself and take his mind off of your dinner.
4. Ignore him
While you are eating or handling food, you may have to give him the cold shoulder. Don’t talk to him, look at him, or touch him. The only time you should interact with your pup is to ask him to go to his designated place, and to reward him when he complies.
Older dogs can be expert beggars, so breaking the habit won’t happen overnight. Try not to get frustrated if you don’t see immediate results. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Eventually, your pooch will get the message.