How to stop dog begging through training

Posted by Betty. November 19th 2014.

Anyone who has ever eaten in the company of a poorly trained dog will be familiar with the animals’ tendency to keep a keen eye on your food. One of the very first tricks that a puppy can learn, if given the chance, is how to beg for food.

Not only can this become frustrating for an owner over time, but it can actually prove dangerous for the dog in certain situations. Not all human food is safe for dogs to eat and by begging for a share of what’s being eaten by humans; dogs can sometimes do themselves more harm than good.

A dog with a wet nose and prolonged eye contact can be difficult to refuse so many dog owners and their friends find themselves asking the question, how do you train a dog not to beg?

A dog begging

Prevention is the best medicine

By far the easiest way to avoid dog begging is to prevent it taking place in the first place. The fact is, dogs will rarely beg for food unless they are taught to in the early stages of their life. They might not need a great deal of encouragement, but it does make a difference.

Those taking on young animals should make a point of never feeding their pet from the table. By separating your dog’s mealtime from your own, you will stop your pet from creating an association between them.

Simply put, they won’t expect to eat when you do unless you make this a habit and this means that they’re less likely to beg every time you sit down at the table or open a bag of crisps.

Begging Dog

Training out of a habit

Whatever the reason for it, if your pooch has already acquired the habit of begging, it is possible to train them out of it. Dog training can be tough as it is a matter of discipline but more often than not it simply comes down to a system of rewards.

By feeding your dog at the table, you are – consciously or not – rewarding a habit. The best way to break this habit is to break the reward. The only way to stop a dog begging for food is to ensure that your dog is never rewarded for doing so.

Rather than actively trying to discipline your pet while you eat, it is more effective to ignore them during mealtimes and to tend to them at other times instead.

By removing the association for your dog between your mealtimes and its feeding, you will soon remove the incentive for your pet to beg every time you go to take a bite.

You should also make sure you feed your dog after you’ve eaten and not before or at the same time. This helps to build a clear hierarchy in the home and ensures your pet knows who is top dog.

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