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How to teach your dog to stop begging

Updated on September 30, 2007

It is a familiar sight for majority of dog owners, you are seated at your kitchen table and your dog is sitting next to you whining/drooling/pawing/barking until your meal is finished. We all have been through that; at his worst phase my dog simply would not stop barking until the meal was finished. And it did not matter if we had company or not.

Although I do have to admit no dog could ever beat my uncle's old mutt. He would say Mum in lieu of begging. I kid you not. There we were sitting at their kitchen table and all you could hear was him Mum-ing under the table.

The thing is it is not our dogs' fault they behave the way they do when it comes to begging. It is a learned response. Somewhere down the line someone slip him something and he/she does know that at meal times another nibble might come his way. And your dog will do anything in his/her power to make you see he/she is right there waiting for that food.

The good news is that even though it is a learned response, you can still something about it and teach your dog there will not be any more food accidentally dropping from the table.

The bad news is that it will take time and patience to un-learned the begging behavior. Because as all dog owners know, it is easy to train dogs to do something they like, something they do not like, well that is another story altogether.

The best way to go about stopping your dog from begging would be to give him his meal at the same time your family sits down to eat. And even better way would be that he should eat his meal in a separate room if possible. That way he will be occupied with his own food and will not have the time to beg. Also that will prevent your younger family members from slipping something under the table and reinforcing the bad behavior. Alternatively if your dog eats at different times then when your family does, you can always give him his favorite toys to keep him busy during meal times.

However if you are unable to remove your dog from your kitchen table and he is present while you eat, now is the time when the real deal starts. You can expect anything from poignant stares, whining, drooling, placing paws on your thigh and in worse case scenarios howling and barking. This will continue for a while, however it is essential that A) you keep ignoring him and B) nobody succumbs and gives him any food. It will take a few weeks and you will have to be rigid about this, however there is no other way.

And if you do feel you are being a mean bastard think again. There is a reason why dogs should not eat the same food human's do. A number of food stuff is simply not good for dogs and can create a lot of health problems down the line. Another thing that can present a problem is that you simply will not have track how much food your dog does eat and the result will be an overweight dog, as it was the case in my household. So think again before you succumb to pleading stares and you slip some of your own steak under the table.

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