Mark Vette – Internationally renowned Animal Behaviourist, Educator, Author and TV personality

How to stop your dog begging for food

How to stop your dog begging for food

When your dog gives you those puppy dog eyes, it can be hard to resist sharing, right?!

But even if you do have good self-control yourself, if your dog is in the habit of begging, others may not be so careful about what they do and dont share with your pet and many human foods can be harmful to dogs. 

So remove the temptation by teaching your dog not to beg from humans that are eating. 

1. Don’t feed from your plate

One of the easiest things to do is never feed your dog from your own plate or while youre snacking. If you do, this highly reinforces that begging behaviour (food is the most powerful natural driver, so even getting a tidbit from you rewards that habit!). If you really wish to share leftovers with your dog, check nothing in the scraps is harmful and wait until youve finished your meal then put the scraps in your dogs own food bowl. Make sure friends and family members are on board with this too (particularly kids!). Consistency is key. If you’re unsure which foods are not safe for dogs, check out pawsoff.co.nz

2. Feed your dog first

Feed your dog before you have your dinner, that way it will be easier for them to settle down while youre eating. If the dog is soliciting you pop them outside or away from the eating area.

3. Teach good basic commands

On Your Mat, Outside, Away, Down and Stay are useful commands to prevent begging for food. The more consistently you use them and follow through while youre eating, the more automatically your dog will simply stay away from the table at meal times. 

4. Use a clip station

A clip station is an excellent way to contain your dog so they cant beg at the table, while still allowing them to be nearby and part of the family dynamic and social space. A clip station is just a short lead or chain screwed into the baseboard of the wall or looped around a heavy piece of furniture, with a dog bed or mat underneath. Your dog will need to be trained to accept a clip station (start with very short periods of time, staying close by and giving your dog a nice treat to chew on). But once youve done this it will become a place of peace and calm that your dog loves to be! Its a great place to put your dog to keep them out of the way when youre eating, without having to send them outside. Its a good idea to leave them with a stuffed Kong or something of their own to help them settle and not compete for your food (especially when first introducing this tool). Crate training is another option to pop the dog away.

WATCH: HOW TO STOP YOUR DOG SOLICITING FOR FOOD

Check out this clip from one of my Live Coaching Sessions in my Virtual Training Schools. I go through how to stop your dog soliciting for food, including how powerful it is to use an intermittent schedule of reward in your training (and how this can work both for and against you!).

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