One of the biggest training-related complaints I hear is about dogs begging for food. They’ll beg at the table, beg from visiting guests, and even beg from other dog parents in the park. It’s not only annoying; it can become embarrassing. After all, we want our fur kids to behave properly.
The begging habit normally starts as soon as you bring a new dog home. Any dog. Any age. The reason? Those big pleading eyes! They’ll get you every time. The other reason is that people love to feed animals; in many cases, it’s a way of showing love.
The problem is, giving in to the dog promotes an animal that pesters people for food. And it can become unhealthy if he’s fed too much of the wrong sorts of food. If dogs are given things full of additives, sugar and fat, they can experience multiple health issues later on. People are the same way – but the difference is, we know where our food choices may lead us. Dogs are not privy to that information, so they can’t make a wise choice before they eat that piece of toast with jam.
Steps to stop begging
- Teach your dog or puppy to lie down and stay on a special mat that’s just for him. This involves teaching him a down/stay, which is fairly basic, but it will require practice. Reward him frequently for being on the mat.
- Once he learns to stay on his mat, you can reduce the frequency of the rewards. You can allow him a toy stuffed with healthy treats if he stays on the mat.
- Move the mat from room to room, so the dog learns to lie down on it and stay there, no matter where it is. Put the mat in the dining room when you are eating or have guests. Occasionally, go to your dog and give him a treat reward. This will encourage him to stay there, and it will also show him that the treats come when he is lying on the mat. Plus, if you have to get up off your chair to give a snack to the dog, rather than have him come to you, it will reduce the frequency of the snacks, guaranteed.