You may have noticed (it’s very difficult not to!) that every meal, every snack, and every takeaway treat unfortunately involves your dog begging for food. More often than not, you’ll give into them too – how can you say no sad little doggo eyes?!
Giving in, however, is not the best approach. Doing so can further enable and entrench this bad behaviour, as well as lead to potential health issues down the road such as canine obesity.
So, how does an owner prevent their dog from begging for food? That’s exactly what we explore in this blog post, so read on to discover how to set healthy boundaries so your dog understands that, excuse the pun, begging is off the table!
Tips to stop your dog begging for food
Here are some useful tips to help curb that begging behaviour in your dog:
Enforce a no-feeding policy
When dealing with a new dog, it is important to set the rules from the very beginning. The dog is not to be fed by any family member at the table during family meal times. Everyone who either lives in your home or visits it must understand and follow these rules. If they do, your dog will soon learn that nobody, no matter how much they beg, is going to give in to them.
Restrict access to the table
It might seem a little heartless, but restricting your dog’s access to the table is an effective way of stopping them from begging. This could be accomplished by keeping them in a separate room during meal times or else somehow physically cordoning off the table area. Alternatively, you can keep them occupied by giving them a puzzle toy filled with treats so they don’t even think about coming over to the table in the first place!
Find them a comfy spot
This point ties in with the above one. If you’re going to restrict or cut off access to the dinner table, then provide your dog with a warm and comfy spot elsewhere. This could as well be a position from which they can see the family, this helps them feel included regardless of whether they’re banned from begging.
Coordinate meal times
If you plan a little, you can arrange to have your dog eat just before your family or guests do. This will not only satiate them but will provide a very effective distraction as having them focused on their food will keep them distracted from begging for yours. You can also tie it in with the above point and give them a comfortable spot to chill in straight afterwards. If there’s anything that will slow a dog down it’s a full belly and a warm place to snooze!
Divert their attention
Distraction is a very useful tool in a dog owner’s arsenal! Whether it be squeaky toys, a healthy treat, or a nice bone – distract your pooch with something they can’t take their eyes off and they’ll soon forget you’re eating your dinner at all!
Give treats for good behaviour
Tying in with the point above, when your dog maintains good behaviour and limits their begging behaviour, you can reward them with a treat. This reinforces the idea that begging for food will not work – they must earn their treat the hard way. It’s also important to avoid doing this at the table so they don’t associate that location with treats!
You can teach your dog to obey basic commands like ‘stop’ and ‘leave’, immediately putting a halt to the instinctive behaviour of begging for food. You can also teach them to stay at a designated place on your command which is a fast and effective technique in preventing begging.
If your dog has already taken up the habit of begging, you should put a stop to it at once. Whenever the dog comes to your feet at the table, simply ignore them. No matter how much they persist, pay them no mind; they will eventually learn that begging will not get them fed. While this is much harder than training them not to beg in the first place, with time, patience and a little sternness and discipline on your part, you should be able to break your pooch out of the habit for good.
VetIQ’s delicious and healthy treats can stop your dog begging for food
No matter how much of a little beggar your pooch is, it is never too late to change their behaviour and stop them from begging. You can teach your dog good manners and also accustom them to rewards for good behaviour, as opposed to annoying family members and pestering guests while they beg.
So when it comes time for distraction or reward, our healthy and delicious snacks are the answer you need. Our Healthy Centres are delicious grain-free treats formulated by animal nutritionists that are comprised of a dry outer shell with a tasty cream-filled centre. With Omega 3 in every treat, it’s not just fun, it’s a healthy choice too!
By providing our treats as a substitute for people’s food, you can steer your dog’s focus and help them to establish better behaviours during feeding time, and if you need more advice, be sure to check out our blog for more insights on ways to handle your pets!