Begging for food is one of the most annoying traits a dog can develop. You and your guests should be able to enjoy a meal in front of the dog without them begging and drooling at your feet. But how do you ensure your best friend doesn't start the bad habit and if they already have, what can you do about it?
Teaching your Pup not to Beg
Feeding your puppy at the same time you are eating is the fastest way for a dog to learn to beg for food. If you don't ever give them food at the same time as you're eating, they won't develop the association of being fed when it's your time to eat. But it's easier said than done. Those sad eyes and drooling lips are designed to make you give in.
We all want to treat our dogs, so you think one titbit off your plate after a meal won't hurt. But this encourages dogs to enjoy treats at the same time you're eating. If you are tempted, remove the dog from the room while the family is eating and bring them out after you have finished. After all, dogs are great vacuum cleaners when you have messy, young children dropping food on the floor.
If you would prefer that your dog stays in the same room as you, train them to sit in a spot away from the table while you are eating. With time, your pup will realise that they need to sit on their blanket or cushion during meals. Try to feed your pup before you eat, so they are less inclined to be interested in your table scraps.
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How to Break the Habit in Older Dogs
It seems you can teach an old dog new tricks, but it can be difficult particularly when food is involved. Try telling your dog to move away from where you are eating by sitting on their blanket or cushion. Keep calm if your orders don't work. Yelling at your dog may be seen as you giving them attention. If your old dog doesn't stay in their spot away from the table, you may need to remove them and give them a chew bone or toy in another room to keep them happy.
Again make sure your dog isn't hungry while you are eating. Feed the dog before you eat or wear them out with a walk before dinner, so they don't have the energy to beg and are more interested in a big drink and a lie-down.
Cutting out Table Scraps
While feeding table scraps to a pet seem less wasteful, you could be harming their health. For some dogs, table scraps are in addition to their full meal of dog food leading to serious weight gain. Your dog doesn't need multiple meals or even scraps throughout the day so watch you aren't overfeeding. Teach the kids not to offer the dog part of their snack or meal too. Encourage your dog to stay out of the kitchen area and not to jump up to the dining table or chairs.
By breaking the cycle of begging and feeding table scraps you can make mealtimes more enjoyable for everyone and lead to a healthier, happier dog. If you have any questions about breaking your dog's bad habits, ask your vet for advice.
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