If you reward your dog for begging, it will continue to beg! Here, you’ll learn how to teach your dog to stop begging for food so you and your guests can eat peacefully, without the constant nudging from your four-legged family member.
The only way to stop this behavior is to stop feeding him at the table or elsewhere when he is begging for food. Well, you may say it’s not that easy.
The truth is, it takes some conditioning on everyone’s part. It’s best that everyone abides by this rule, so try to get the point across to every family member.
A dog that’s been reinforced for begging for a lengthy period of time may be more difficult to condition, but it is possible. If you stay on top of the game, your dog will soon understand that there won’t be any food provided when he begs.
Some tips to teach your dog to stop begging for food:
1. Ignore him!
Just don’t pay any attention to him when he starts begging. Don’t argue, scold, or even talk to him. Do not make eye contact. Any interaction is translated to your dog as attention. No attention, no food, no begging — eventually. Don’t ever give in. Even if you give in once, it’s reinforcement enough for him to keep coming back for more.
Keep in mind that you might go through a period of utter chaos and frustration. It will likely get worse before it gets better, but if you hang in there, you’ll stop this bad behavior.
2. Create a new habit to replace the old habit of begging for food.
Have your pal go to a specific spot and lie down. Use a mat that designate’s “his place.” Be ready with treats. When he behaves properly, give him a treat. This may take a few sessions until it works without a hitch, but it will work.
Remember to release the dog from “his place” when the meal is over. Reward him with a treat and use whatever release word works in your home, such as “free.”
3. Management and tools.
To discourage any begging when you don’t have the time or willpower to discipline him, use a baby gate or a crate. Whichever is fine and is highly recommended for when you have guests.
It won’t be long before you can eat in peace, without Fido begging for food. If you do have a family member that encourages the bad behavior, it’s likely that only that family member will be bothered at the dinner table.