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Why do dogs beg for food

Updated on January 23, 2009

Begging - cute or a nuisance?

If you are a dog owner you're quite likely to have experienced begging at one time or another. Initially you might not think much of it. But in the long run it may become a serious problem. It can get to the point where the mere presence of food results in your dog whining, pawing or even jumping on you in order to get bite of whatever it is you are having. This is often not wanted, but why do dogs beg?

Dogs begging for food

Why dogs beg

It all goes back to the way the dogs society is structured. Dogs live in a hierarchical society where the alpha dog (pack leader, you) eats first. By giving in to begging behaviour you automatically reinforce it and it will slowly escalate. This means that begging is a learnt behaviour. Your dog asks and it receives.

Begging should not be encouraged as it can weaken your position as the pack leader. Thereby opening the door for the dog to challenge your leadership. This can lead to other types of unwanted beaviour and as I am sure you know. It is much more pleasant to have a well behaved to around the house than a wild animal who never listens.

How to stop unwanted begging

Preventing this behaviour can be quite demanding. It requires noth patience and persitance. Once you start. You need to stick with it as your dog will otherwise revert to its old ways of begging whenever there is food to be had.

One way to stop nuisance begging is by using the "no" command. Simply say "no" using a firm voice and do not give in if he comes back and tries again. Something he may do a lot when you first start out.

Another option is to teach your dog to go to its sleeping area around meal times. This takes the attention away from begging and you may eat in peace.

Other options inlude feeding on a set schedule and in a separate area from your where you normally eat.


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    • profile image

      Jacky 5 years ago

      My dogs dont beg from me but they hang around my grandchildren when they are eating in case something drops onto the floor!

    • DeniseClarke profile image

      DeniseClarke 9 years ago from Florida

      We stopped our Maltese, Houdini, from begging by getting him his own chair at the table ... LOL!