Does this scene sound familiar? You sit down at the table to eat and suddenly you sense that you’re being watched. You look down and your dog is right there, staring at you with those puppy dog eyes they know are so hard for you to resist. You do your best to ignore them, but when the whining and barking begin, you relent and give them what they’re looking for: a little snack from the table.
If this is a regular occurrence in your home, you’ll be happy to
know that you’re not alone – many pet parents struggle with begging dogs. If
you’re ready to put an end to this behavior, read on. We’ve put together a list
of tried and true methods to get your dog to stop begging.
Why should I deter
begging behavior in my dog?
The puppy dog eyes may be cute, but that’s just about the only
positive aspect of begging. Once a dog learns that this attention-seeking
behavior works they will continue with it, even escalating their efforts if you
try and resist. For example, if using just their puppy dog eyes stops getting the
desired result, they will begin to pair it with whining, barking, or nudging
you with their nose. When these fail to work the way they planned, they may try
to jump on the table or counter to steal the food.
Bad behavior aside, there are also health consequences that
result from begging. The additional calories dogs get from eating table scraps
can result in weight gain, which leads to a whole host of issues ranging from
cancer and heart disease to diabetes and osteoarthritis. There are also many
human foods that are dangerous for dogs and if their begging gets to the point
where they’re stealing food, you have limited control over what they end up
This is why it’s important to nip begging behaviors in the bud
as soon as possible.
How do I get my dog to
When it comes to getting your dog to stop begging, the most
important thing is consistency. It can take some time to change this behavior
but if you don’t waver in your training methods, it will pay off.
- Ignore, ignore, ignore: Begging is attention-seeking behavior,
so the more you react to it, the more they’ll do it. The most important thing
to do when getting your dog to stop begging is to ignore the undesired
behavior. At first, this will cause them to try even harder to get your
attention, but you have to persevere. Eventually, they’ll learn that begging
doesn’t result in the outcome they expect and the behavior will fade away.
- Serve your dog’s meal first: One of the
first things you’ll want to do is shift your dog’s mealtimes so they’re just
before your own. By doing this, your dog should be busy eating their favorite
Freshpet recipe and will be too distracted to notice you’re also eating. If you
want to slow down the rate at which your dog eats their meals, try serving it
in a slow feeder or puzzle feeder. This way, your meals should take about the
same amount of time.
- Have a dedicated place to eat: In addition to
feeding your dog first, choose a spot in the house where they’ll eat all of
their meals. Preferably this is in a different room than where you eat, but if
you’re tight on space you could also create a spot by using a blanket, mat, or
even their crate. If you avoid feeding them anywhere except this spot, over
time they’ll learn that this is the only place where they get food.
- No treats outside of their spot: Once you’ve chosen a spot, you need to commit to it – even when it comes to giving treats. When you want to give your pup their favorite Freshpet treat, serve it to them in a bowl in their spot. It should be fine to give your dog treats without the bowl if you’re out of the house, but if you notice that their begging behavior starts to increase when you’re at home again you’ll have to stick to the bowl full time.
- Make it a group effort: As we
mentioned, consistency is key in getting your dog to stop begging, which means
it can’t be a solo effort. If you live with family or roommates, you’ll all
need to be on the same page when it comes to efforts to halt your dog’s begging
– the same goes for guests that come over for meals.
We hope that this gives you some guidance on how to train your dog to stop begging. It may take some trial and error before you figure out which of the above methods work best for you and your dog, but eventually, you’ll find the right mix. And don’t forget, consistency is key for whichever methods you use!