How to Stop a Dog from Begging
Author: Alina Andreeva
Alina Andreeva is a writer, editor, and pet-lover. She has published over 20 articles on how to care for pets properly. Alina has been writing articles for 3 years, so she has considerable experience in this niche. Her natural curiosity helps her to expand her knowledge and learn new pet care life hacks, which will make your life much easier.View all 23 articles Learn about our editorial process
Updated on: 17/04/2020
Often, dog owners complain that their pets are inclined to beg when they have a meal, causing them some inconvenience. Many find it difficult to wean a dog from such a habit and are not even aware that sometimes they exacerbate the problem. Getting rid of your bad habits becomes a difficult but necessary part of stopping a pet from begging. Nevertheless, if you can devote several weeks of your time to not allow this behavior in your pet, then usually the problem is solvable.
Should I ignore my dog?
Understand the principles of dog behavior
Dogs are fairly simple creatures. If any of their actions leads to a reward, they will repeat this action in anticipation of the next reward. If certain actions do not lead to a reward, the dog has no reason to repeat them.
Some dogs may just sit and look at you, while others may whine until they get what they want. If a dog does not get what it wants, it may even start barking at you, pushing you with its paws, or climb on a sofa or chair to be closer to you.
If you treat or pat a dog during such actions, you are thereby encouraging it to repeat this behavior. A common form of encouragement is a treat, but throwing a ball to a dog or other form of attention is also a form of positive encouragement.
Some dogs only need a couple of rewards to practice begging. Weaning from a bad habit boils down to the exclusion of rewards, but this can be quite a difficult task.
Do not treat your dog while you are having a meal
The most basic and important step in weaning a dog from a negative begging skill is to stop giving it treats at the table.
Most people periodically tend to cave under the pressure of a dog and treat the pet with food from the table which leads to the consolidation of unwanted behavior.
Refusing to show any attention to the dog at the table is critical to preventing begging and getting rid of an existing problem. No matter how loud the dog barks and whines, or looks pityingly at you when you eat at the table, do not give it treats.
Do not talk to the dog
Unless you need to give the dog any command, do not pay attention to it by talking to it or even mentioning its name.
Control yourself and do not start shouting at the begging dog. The attention of any kind, including negative, can reinforce the habit of begging.
Do not even look at the dog
Making eye contact with the dog is also one of the rewards that fuel the unwanted behavior you are trying to stop. Even the smallest bit of attention to a pet can encourage begging.
How to restrict the dog’s access to the table?
Send the dog to another place
If you can teach your dog to go somewhere on command or lock it somewhere, this can wean it from begging at the table.
Try letting the dog out or taking it to another room. The idea is that the dog is not into your field of vision and physically cannot start begging. This may not stop the dog barking and whining but at least there will be a certain distance between you and the unwanted behavior of the pet.
If your dog knows a “kennel up” command, use it to prevent the pet from approaching the table. However, some dogs may continue to whine and stare at you from a distance.
Training a “kennel up” command involves encouraging the pet to stay in its kennel. If you treat and encourage the dog after it begins to beg, its unwanted behavior will continue. It is best to use the “kennel up” command before you have a meal. As soon as the dog has studied the command and begins to follow it stably, increase the level of difficulty and begin to give the command in situations with an increased number of distractions (for example, right at lunchtime).
You may need to tie your dog or lock it in its kennel so that it stays in place while you eat.
Train your dog to listen to a “no” command
Teaching your dog to follow a “no” command can be very helpful. This command means the order to terminate any actions committed by the dog.
Give your dog a timeout
If your dog does not want to voluntarily move away from the table or continues to beg directly from its kennel, you may need to arrange a “timeout” for it in a separate room.
As soon as the dog begins to beg, send it to another room without food or toys. The idea is that this room should be a boring place for the dog, away from you and your food. The dog should not be able to enjoy staying in this place.
Release the dog after a few minutes. If it starts begging again, give it another timeout. Soon, the dog will begin to associate timeouts with its begging.
Your dog may whine and bark when you arrange timeouts for it. Sometimes, this may seem even worse than its begging at the table but if you are consistent in your actions, in the end, you will get rid of unwanted dog behavior.
Consistency is important
Involve all family members in the dog training
All members of your family must follow the rules set for the dog. Otherwise, the dog will never stop begging.
Even if only one person surrenders and treats the dog off the table, your efforts will be wasted. The dog very quickly realizes who treats it and who does not.
Let family members or roommates understand that a dog needs to be weaned from begging for its well-being. To ensure your pet a long and prosperous life, you must take care of the balance of its nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight. Feeding the dog leftovers from the table is contrary to these goals.
If you just make a concession, this will serve as an incentive for a dog to continue begging. The world will not turn upside down if this happens, but you will have to start all over again.
Remember that consistency is the key to training any dog. “No” means “no,” you must understand this and not go on a leash of your dog.
Do not feel guilty
Your dog is not destitute, it does not starve, and it will not hate you for this training in the future.
Feeling guilty is a human emotion. The dog will not hold a grudge against you for not giving it leftovers from the table.
A little later, you can treat the dog to something more beneficial to its health if it makes you feel better. Use treats to train your dog commands. Do not give your pet treats if it does not deserve them. This will mean that it is you who controls the behavior of the dog.
Do not give up
After about a couple of weeks, the dog should stop begging, but you and all other family members must stay alert.
In the absence of incentives, the dog will eventually stop trying to beg for something, especially if you resort to timeouts.
Contact a professional
If your dog turns out to be more stubborn than you, you can ask a professional dog handler to help you fight a bad habit in your pet.
Most likely, the dog is not the only one that has a bad habit it should get rid of. It may be helpful for both you and your dog to learn general obedience commands.
Contact local clubs of dog breeders or animal shelters. These organizations can arrange training courses or they can recommend a good dog handler.
When you have guests, let them know that it is forbidden to give the dog treats from the table. Ask them not to give up in front of the begging dog and not to provoke such behavior. If guests begin to pay attention to the begging dog and treat it, the unwanted behavior will return with a vengeance.
In the presence of guests, it would be nice to protect the dog from temptations and place it in a separate room away from the dining table.
The easiest way to deal with bad habits is to prevent them from occurring. If you just got a dog, never treat it with leftovers from the table.
The bottom line
If you have concerns that the dog might bite you to get a treat, a ball, or attract attention, you should immediately seek help from a professional dog handler.
Some dogs tend to increase the intensity of their attempts to beg for something. In this case, it will be difficult for you to ignore the pet and not give up under its pressure. Always remember that any concession is an encouragement of unwanted behavior and will only contribute to its continuation in the future.
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