Tips to Break your Buddy’s Begging Habit

begging dog

For us, it seems like one of the hardest habits to break our dogs of is begging. But we can’t really blame them. If we had their sense of smell, we can’t imagine how tempting french fries would become. The only thing we can do is teach them otherwise. There are a few ways to take care of the issue, whether direct prevention or training, but here are a few of our favorite tricks to help train your pet out of staring you down while you eat. Pro-Tip: Mix and match for a combination of tactics that work for you and your pet.

  • Step 1: Stop Sharing. If you have the opportunity to never introduce a young puppy to people food, you’ll probably never have a problem. For those with the habit already established, the first thing to do is stop sharing anything off your plate – don’t give them a reason to beg!
  • Baby Gate. Ah, the beloved baby gate – always there as a reliable barrier to keep our companions at bay. This is obviously the most direct approach in keeping your dog out from under your armpit while you eat, but it probably won’t teach your them not to whimper, bark, or stare during mealtime. Which is where the other tricks come in…
  • Diversion Tactics. Give your dog something to do while you eat – such as a bone, puzzle treater with fragrant treats, or toy. Put the distraction on their bed or in their crate and instruct them to lay down and stay. For some dogs, this will be an easy and welcomed alternative while other dogs may be a little more persistent. Be consistent in showing them what you want, but for the dog who simply won’t give up…
  • The Squirt Bottle. In our household, the squirt bottle is DEFCON 1. While we don’t enjoy using it because they hate it, it’s harmless and effective. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where it doesn’t even need to be used, its mere presence at the table is strong enough to deter begging. A few sturdy streams to your pet’s neck or torso, with the command to go on their bed usually yields the proper response. Don’t overdo it and be sure not to aim at their face or ears.

All of these things will take time and consistency (minus the baby gate, that’s immediate.) It may take a few instances of you getting up from the table to show your pet what’s expected from them – and always treat them when they do the right thing. (You could even consider a training treat for this to keep calories low during the learning curve.)

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