How to Stop Dog Begging at the Table
Behind a dog begging at a table there is, in most cases, an owner feeding table scraps. It is just as simple as that. If the owner however swears that he has never fed his dog at the table, the possibilities are two: he is either lying to your face, or perhaps, he is a bit of a messy eater, unknowingly dropping occasional small food particles and crumbs, with the end result of luring the dog to the table. Of course, dogs may still beg at the table because of the wafting aromas and alluring sights that draw his attention to you.
Dogs are animals that learn pretty quickly. This comes to us as an advantage when it comes to training our dogs. If we want our dog to sit we know that showing him a treat will get him to sit faster. A dog that sits and earns a treat is working by Skinnerian operative conditioning. The dog indeed ''operates'' by sitting to ''gain '' the treat.
In the same way a dog learns to beg at the table. He has learned that every time he whines while the owner is eating or every time he paws at the owner for a piece of steak, the owner will give up and share part of the meal. The dog, therefore, quickly learns the begging behavior. And the more he does it, with success the more he will feel motivated.
Begging at the table does not have to necessarily mean only pawing for food, barking or whining. Even the simple fact of sitting next to owner ands staring while the owner is eating is a form of begging for food. Undoing, the begging behavior may be difficult once it has allowed to put roots.
American psychologist Edward L. Thorndike knows this well. His law of effect stated that '' Of several responses made to the same situation, those which are accompanied or closely followed by satisfaction to the animal will be more firmly connected with the situation, so that, when it recurs, they will be more likely to recur".
In other words, since begging at the table is accompanied by satisfaction (food being given) the begging behavior will be more likely to recur. A new behavior pattern therefore has been established and eradicating it may take some time, consistency and perseverance. The most important question therefore for owners of begging dogs is ''how to stop my dog from begging?'' A legitimate question indeed.
How to Teach Your Dog to Stop Begging at the Table
Begging at the table may be frustrating over time. When owners decide to stop feeding their dog table scraps at the table, the dog may feel like it needs to exhibit more insistent behaviors in order to get fed. A dog that used to simply stare at the owner eating therefore may start getting inclined to whining or pawing in order to get attention. If the owner gives in, an enormous mistake, the dog will have learned to exhibit more and more insistent behaviors. An vicious cycle has formed and the behavior now is more difficult to undo.
The first step to stop begging behaviors is to stop giving scraps in the first place. This new policy must be observed by ALL family members. Make sure your husband, sister, grandma or kids are all aware of this. Let your guests over for dinner be aware of this too. In order to teach your dog to stop begging keep him away from the table. This will help prevent the dog from running towards the falling crumbs or that piece of broccoli your child is passing under the table to avoid eating those much hated veggies.
It must be remembered that it takes one mistake to have the old behavior to resurface stronger than before. In other words, if you have been good in not feeding table scraps for two weeks, that day where you will feel more vulnerable and likely to give in to those pleading eyes, the dog will go back to its begging antics more determined than before.
So what are the solutions to stop a dog from begging? A good idea would be to crate the dog at table time. If this option seems too drastic, then another option is teaching the dog to ''go to his place''. Place a blanket on the floor and let your dog lay down there until you are done eating dinner. Then release your dog from the stay and feed your dog.
Some people find it helpful to simply feed their dogs while they dine. This may help but it may not solve the root of the problem if your dog eats fast and then goes straight to the table asking for more. It is best, therefore, to teach dogs to respect your boundaries. The table should be off limits during dinner time or if you still want the dog close-by, the dog should learn that pushy behaviors give nothing. Ignore your dog when he whines, paws at you or barks asking for food and re-direct him to his place. When you are done eating and your dog is quiet and almost seems like he has given up, put some food on his mat. Your dog will learn to patiently wait for his turn to eat, and because he is being fed on the mat he will be more likely to stay there at meal time. Best of all, you will reward him for calm, non-pushy behaviors, which ultimately means, reinforcing non-begging behaviors.
For further reading
- Dog eating own stools
Owners may be pretty surprised and react with a touch of disgust when their dog decides to ingest what just came out the other end. This can be a pretty common practice in the wild, where dogs may eat their...
- What to do if your dog is constipated
You are walking your dog as usual on a peaceful day in the park. Suddenly, your dog stops and positions itself to have a bowel movement. Normal routine, once done you head for home. But this time you...
- Understanding a Dog's Sense of Taste
Watching a dog eagerly eat its meal in seconds may cause people to reasonably presume that dogs must have a keen sense of taste when compared to humans. Yet, this is untrue. Indeed, dogs surprisingly have...
- How to Make a Dog Eat Slower
Teaching a dog to eat slower, adry Eating fast in many dogs seems to be a bad habit but it is ultimately somehow correlated to the dog's past when he lived in the wild. Those were the ''dog days'' when...
- How to stop dog food aggression
You have just put the food bowl down and your dog is eating eagerly. As he is eating in the kitchen, you remember you have forgotten to turn off the stove burner. As you approach the kitchen, you are
- How to Make a Dog Food Aggressive
Yes, the title of this hub is correct. If you really are motivated you can make your dog very food aggressive without even realizing it. It is amazing the amount of people that resort to such behaviors and...
More by this Author
An honest review of the famous "puppy apartment" method to potty train dogs. Read the pros and cons and decide whether this approach is right for you.
Learn basic commands to train your pitbull puppy and other important tips to raise the perfect pitbull and train it to be a great ambassador of the breed.
- EDITOR'S CHOICE704
Learn the warning symptoms of a potential intestinal blockage in dogs and when to see the vet. Ask questions and post comments about your dog's intestinal obstruction.