Four Easy Ways To Get Your Dog To Stop Begging At The Table
It can be pretty annoying to have a dog right up in your face when youre trying to eat your dinner. Even the most devoted dog nerds among us can find it just a liiitle bit much. Fortunately, its pretty easy to fix. This article will teach you how to get your dog to give you some friggin space around meal times.
Sidebar: how bad is begging?
Begging at the table is one of those classic bad dog behaviors that everybody knows dogs shouldnt do. As you can tell by all the unnecessary quotation marks, I beg to differ . People sometimes confess to me that they let their dog hang around the table at dinner or they even *gasp*feed their dog from the table, and then brace themselves as if Im going to clutch my dog trainer pearls and faint from sheer horror or fly into a dog trainer rage and berate them for being irresponsible dog owners.
Look: I dont care if your dog begs at the table.
If you dont care either, if it doesnt bother you or the other people in your household? Then its fine. There is nothing inherently wrong with the behavior. About the only time begging is absolutely a problem is in cases of dogs with resource guarding or food aggression. Ive come across a couple instances where a dog would approach their humans plate and then growl possessively. In that case, uhhh yes, that dog needs some training.
But other than that, do what you want. Life is too short to fuss about dog behavior problems that arent actual problems for you.
Is It Normal For Adult Dogs To Have Increased Appetite
Dont get too worked up over the health conditions that can be related to your dog having an insatiable appetite. It is also quite common for dogs to be hungry or act it in hopes of getting you to give them treats.
Most veterinarians recommend that dogs be fed a minimum of twice a day. The caloric content of those meals should depend on your dogs age, weight, breed, and any associated medical conditions. With proper nutrition, even a hungry dog can be healthy. In general, it is normal for them to be excited for their next meal or a special treat, as long as there isnt any abnormal weight gain or weight loss.
READ MORE: How Long Can a Dog Go Without Eating?
Nothing To See Here Now Move Along
Remember the old joke that describes a patient complaining to his doctor about pain in his elbow when he bends his arm, only to be told by the doctor, Then dont bend your arm? The same sort of logic can be applied here. If you dont want your dog begging for food at the table, dont ever feed him at the table. If you dont want your dog begging for food at the kitchen counter, dont ever feed him at the kitchen counter.
Management plays a crucial role in helping your dog figure out that there is no benefit to hanging around the table or kitchen. Set up the environment to make it easy for your dog to behave well, and to make it difficult or impossible for him to make a mistake. Make sure everyone in the family is on the same page regarding your dogs access to food: No food delivered at the table means no food delivered at the table, from anyone.
You may want to feed your dog his meal before you sit down to eat. He wont be as hungry, and therefore not as interested in the food on your plate as he might be, on an empty stomach.
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Make The Dog Sit As You Eat
You might also consider training your dog to sit or stay put while youre eating.
The dog should be able to stay in one position calmly until youre done eating. Well, it may prove difficult at first. But with adequate training, you will be able to crack it.
One way to make that happen is to use a leash. If the dog wont sit, it doesnt harm to have him on a leash. That way, the dog will associate begging for food with restricted movement and will try to come out of the habit.
Give Them A Fixed Eating Schedule
Getting your pooch a routine can help control their cravings. This way, theyll know when theyre getting fed.
You can start by setting an alarm or a reminder on your phone in the morning so you wont forget. Place food on their bowls even if they dont go there.
Make sure that you dont give more meals throughout the day. But, also, watch the amount of food you put in. Keep it within the recommended serving.
The easiest way to do that is to check your dog foods packaging. Companies usually put the recommended amount to serve your pooch.
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They Have Unlimited Access To Food
Theres such a thing as too much. And this applies to your dogs eating habits.
Giving your dog food all the time is very tempting. Some fur parents may even see it as showing love. Do you do this, too?
If your answer is yes, then it might become a problem. You see, dogs can quickly adapt habits. They are smart creatures and will remember their actions.
A study conducted on dogs shows they can remember their past behavior.
The researchers trained the canines to do simple tasks. They found out that dogs can repeat their actions. And they dont need humans to command them.
And if constantly begging for food is part of their memorized routine, theyll do it again. It becomes more frequent if you give them meals all the time.
Its like your dog will expect this to happen. Even if you already stopped giving them free access to food.
Dont Pay Them Attention
When your puppy is begging for food at your feet, it is best to not acknowledge their behaviour with fussing. If your dog doesnt have a designated lay down spot close to the dining area, or you have already fed them, then it is best to carry on with your meal and only show them attention once everyone has finished eating and the plats have been cleared.
Always try to offer a puppy an alternative activity when you are eating to keep them occupied and to minimise puppy begging. Try using a puzzle toy, or a new toy if they are showing disinterest in the ones they already have. Puppies are food orientated and thus will beg in some ways for food, however if you keep the restrictions consistent then they will beg less.
Next, find out more about setting up your puppy with healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime, with out puppy feeding guide.
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How To Stop A Dog Barking And Begging For Food
Begging is one of the most common behavior problems in dogs, and of course, the simplest solution is to stop giving them food. They will eventually learn that theres no chance you ever sharing anything with them.
Of course, training behavior like this takes a long time. You can supplement this with other commands and distractions.
I detail all of them in this post, so below are the best ways you can stop your dog constantly begging for food when you are eating.
How Do You Stop Demand Barking For Food
Give her a stuffed Kong or other long-lasting treat before you sit down to dinner, make a call or start reading. This will prevent her from practicing the behavior when ignoring the barking isnt an option. Exercise/Enrichment. Make sure shes getting enough daily exercise and has opportunities to spend time with you.
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Pack In The Nutrition
Senior dogs arent the only ones that need good nutrition. Every dog needs various quality nutrients for its health, growth, and energy. Highly processed dog foods use high heat that can damage nutrients and synthetic ingredients that are more challenging for your pet to digest. Lightly cooked food with fresh ingredients offer better nutrition and is easier for your pup to digest.Feeding them nutritious food means that they can get more of the things they need, more easily and without feeling the need to overeat.
Your Dogs Body Condition
Evaluating your dogs body condition is an excellent way to fine-tune how much food you offer to them. Your vet can help you determine their body condition score and find the appropriate amount of calories for your dog specifically. Typical signs of dogs that have a healthy weight are:
- Their abdomen is narrower than their chest and hips. When looking at them from above, their figure looks like an hourglass.
- Their chest comes closer to the ground than their stomach when standing up.
- Their ribs should not be visible but easily felt with light pressure.
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When Your Puppy Is Begging Dont Give Them Attention
If you dont want your dog to beg, remember that your dog is well-cared for and well-fed – so doesnt need extras. Feeling sorry for your dog will mean youre more likely to give in and so encourage begging to continue – and get even more inventive. Remember, if you give in to your puppy begging, it will teach your them that begging yields rewards, and so this behaviour will continue into adulthood. Begging in a large, slobbery, insistent adult dog isnt anywhere near as cute as in a puppy!
Give Occasional Special Rewards For Good Behaviour
On occasions in our house our girls are rewarded with a slice of leftover meat if and only if their behaviour has been appropriate. Thats a really powerful training tool, and reinforces the manners and patience your dogs need. You and your dog need to be able to enjoy these things with each other around, so its important to instil those manners at feed times. Itll shape how they react around humans, food and even other dogs.
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A Sudden Change In Appetite
Maybe your dog isnt a voracious eater and knows when to stop. A dogs habits can change. When they do, its usually a sign of something. If your dog goes from finicky to gluttonous, you need to determine the cause so you can take care of the problem as quickly as possible.
There are two reasons a habit as basic and instinctive as appetite might change suddenly: psychology or physiology. Psychological reasons include changes in the environment. Have you moved recently, or has there been a change in the household pack? For example, have grown kids moved out, significant others moved in, or are there any new dogs?
Things like this can lead to insecurity and anxiety, which can trigger a dogs feast or famine mentality. Part of the pack went away, or a strange new person is here and might be a threat to these resources. In the case of a new dog, that may actually be the case, and youll need to monitor things to make sure that the new dog isnt trying to intimidate the old dog away from the bowl, then stealing the food when you arent looking or vice versa.
If a formerly docile dog starts to show food aggression, then the cause is definitely psychological, so youll need to deal with that problem in addition to working on the dogs anxiety over household changes.
How To Stop Dog From Begging For Food
There are a few things that you can do to stop your dog from begging for food. One way is to provide them with a schedule of when they are allowed to beg. You can also feed them in smaller portions throughout the day rather then giving them a large meal at one time. You can also use treats to motivate your dog, but only if they are healthy and appropriate for your dogs diet.
There are a few ways to stop your dog from begging for food. One way is to use a token system. You can give your dog a small token, like a tennis ball, when they ask for food. If they get the token, they can stop begging for food. Another way to stop your dog from begging for food is to make sure they are getting enough food. Feed them twice a day, and make sure they have plenty of fresh water. If your dog is begging for food every day, you may need to take them to the vet to check for a food addiction.
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Do Not Interact With Your Begging Dog
Withholding all attention and affection from your begging dog will go a long way in teaching them to stop. Not giving them food is easy enough but take it a step further: dont talk to them, dont touch them, and dont even make eye contact.
It wont be easy, but correcting this behavior is more important.
Ignoring your dog is only the first step, however. You will have to train him or her further to replace the begging behavior with another command.
Train Them Not To Beg
If your dog begs, its probably because you usually feed them when they do. Train them not to beg using words such as sit, down, drop it and leave it so they learn not to do it.
Then make sure youre consistent with your training and you dont give in to begging with treats. Try not making eye contact and ignoring them when they do beg until the behaviour stops. This way they will learn that if they beg it doesnt lead to food.
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Dont Give Food To Your Begging Dog
Simple enough, right? Well, not so much for the soft-hearted of us.
But this is a crucial first step in changing your pets behavior and moving towards a point where your dog stops begging for food but you will need to stick to your guns, no matter how much your dog likes treats.
Begging is inherently attention-seeking. Your dog needs to learn that begging will not get them anything, especially barking when you are eating.
Slipping up even once will make behavior reversal much more difficult. So, in a way, you also have to train yourself to stop giving your dog a reason to beg for food when you eat.
Why Does My Dog Always Act Hungry
Many dogs act as though their stomachs are bottomless feed them their whole meal and they will follow you around looking for scraps. While this is a plus for positive reinforcement training, its hard to not wonder why your dog acts like he is starving all the time. But is there even an answer to the question? A Veterinarian and Dog Trainer weigh in below with some possible explanations for your dogs insatiable appetite.
Dr. Jules Benson, VP of Veterinary Services at Petplan Pet Insurance says, typically, the insatiable hunger can be attributed to canine biology, but it also can be a warning sign for a medical issue such as diabetes or Cushings disease.
He explains that a dogs eat when food is presented mentality may be because of their wild ancestry. Looking at the domestic dogs nearest wild relative, the grey wolf, they are adapted to a feast-or-famine diet and can go many days without fresh prey, Dr. Benson explains. They achieve this through eating large amounts when food is available, food caching and scavenging .
So its possible your dog is not actually hungry, but eating whenever food is offered in case you stop offering it.
Dr. Benson also mentions that an always hungry dog could have a medical problem causing them to always feel hungry.
While some dogs just simply like to indulge in food, sometimes an increased appetite is the sign of an underlying health issue, he explains.
Force of Habit
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But How Can You Tell If Your Dog Is Really Hungry
Of course, as dog owners, we dont want to let our pets go hungry. But neither do we want to overfeed them. So how can we tell when theyre really hungry and when theyre just begging for a bit of our food? Well, we cant. Not really. Your best bet is to follow the guidelines on the back of their dog food or to ask your vet. Youll need to take into consideration how active your pup is when feeding them too.
Another reason why your dog may constantly be begging for food is that theyre actually really hungry. If youre feeding your pup the normal amount of food and you notice that theyre losing weight, take them for a check-up just to be sure.
Other Solutions And Considerations
Begging for food can be incredibly annoying and the only way to stop this behavior is to work with your dog over a long period of time to teach them that it is not going to give them the results they are hoping for. A trainer or behavioral specialist can help you identify the best approach and the cause of the behaviors.
Quite simply, dogs beg because it works. As long as it keeps on working they will likely keep on doing it. To cure these behaviors you simply have to show your dog that begging will not yield the results they are looking for, whether it be to play fetch or get some food.
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