How to stop your dog begging

How to stop your dog begging

It is not uncommon for pets to display undesirable behaviours, with 72-85% of dogs estimated to exhibit at least one type of problem behaviour during their life.

A lot of these behaviours may reflect normal canine behaviour which owners simply do not understand or find annoying, such as barking, which is a typical communication method for dogs.

They can also arise from medical behaviours such as anxiety, or can be indicative of poor health.

Dog behaviour can be complex and is influenced by many factors such as genetic predisposition, experience and learning, environment and physiology.

Studies have revealed that behaviour in some dogs can be inherited to a degree and that maternal influences can affect the pups temperament and personality.

In addition, pups born with littermates, the amount and type of human handling, and exposure to new objects and experiences can all influence a dogs behaviour.

Understanding the nature of dog behaviour problems is critical to developing a rational basis for their treatment.

When your dog starts to exhibit behavioural problems, it is essential that you first rule out any health problems by taking your dog to a veterinarian.

And today we are going to look at how to stop your dog begging.

How to stop your dog begging

Begging for food is a very common behaviour in dogs as most of them are highly food motivated.

However, when your dog is constantly hovering around you when there is food out and the instant you sit down to eat, it can become very annoying. This unwanted behaviour is often and easily reinforced by us as we tend to give into those puppy-dogeyes.

It is also important to note that not only will giving your dog food at the table, even once, result in them being persistent with begging, it can also result in tummy troubles and health problems such as canine obesity.

Some human food is not safe for your dog. Preventing or stopping your dog from begging can be a difficult task and requires a lot of patience, however, if you are consistent it is achievable.

Preventing the behaviour

When your dog is a puppy, you should help them to form good habits from the start.

This will help avoid any begging behaviour issues. To do this, never give your puppy food from the table, or anywhere in the house you eat, and ensure that everyone in the house and visitors do the same thing.

You can also confine your dog to another room, or their crate, to prevent them from being near you while you eat.

If you cannot do this, or want them to stay in the same room, then you need to train your dog to focus on something else whilst food is out. 

Teach your dog basic obedience

Teaching your dog obedience commands such as sit”, stay” and leave it” are useful to discourage begging behaviours (and many others). If your dog knows the commands lie down” or fetch” you can use these when they start to beg.

Counter-conditioning your dog can also help to solve this behavioural problem. You can teach your dog to go to a specific spot whilst eating.

To do this, you will need to choose a designated spot for them to go, this can be their bed or a place with their toys.

Start by teaching them the stay” command, followed by go to your spot”, showing them where they need to be.

Give your dog plenty of praise and reward with treats when they go to their spot. Teach these commands before you practice with food. When your dog begins to bed, redirect their attention and send them to their spot sit.

Distract them with a toy to take their desire off your food. Sometimes teaching your dog obedience commands is better accomplished after exercise so they are less energetic and generally better behaved.

Dealing with begging

If your dog already begs for food, or picks up the habit, then you need to teach them that this behaviour no longer works. You need to ignore your dog completely when they begin to beg by avoiding looking at them or even talking to them until you have finished eating.

Dogs will eventually give up if their begging is never successful. Even scolding your dog when they beg for food gives them negative attention.

However, give your dog other options for alternative behaviours and to occupy their time such as chew toys.

Coordinate mealtimes

If your dog is highly food motivated, distracting them with their own food is a good way to prevent them from begging for yours. If you need more time, you can feed them using a slow-feeder or in a Kong.

Your dog is less likely to beg for your food if they have their own meal or treat. If you use this strategy, monitor how much food you are giving your dog to avoid over feeding. You can see our home feeding recipe books here

Feed your dog before in a separate room from where you eat. 

Reward your dog for good behaviour

Always use positive reinforcement with your dog.

When your dog is well-behaved and does not beg for food, give them a treat. Avoid giving them treats from the table. 

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