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A common complaint among dog owners, heard around many dining tables, is that the dog begs during meals and in doing so creates a nuisance. Some dogs will just sit and look at you, while others might whine at you until they get what they want. If you feed them or pet the dog when it does these things, you reward the behavior with a treat or pat on the head. Most people give in every once in a while and give some scraps to their begging dog, and this reinforces the undesirable behavior. Refusing to acknowledge your dog when you are eating is crucial to both preventing a begging habit and stopping an existing problem. If you don't want to confine your dog, you can train it to just go elsewhere during dinner. If even one person in your household gives in and feeds from the table, your effort will be compromised. In addition, begging is a habit that undermines the joy of living with a well behaved house pet. If there is no pay off, the dog will eventually stop trying, especially if you start administering time outs.


When guests are around, this is a good time to remove the temptation and use the crate or another room to remove the dog from the dinner table. If at any time you think that your dog may bite you to get a treat, a ball or attention, you need to get a professional trainer involved immediately. This version of How to Stop Your Dog from Begging was reviewed by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS on April 22, 2015.
If you're going to give your pup a human meal (Zena gets a human meal as dogs actually bore of dog food!) and it's from our meal, I make it before we sit down and then put it by the fridge to cool off. Many dog owners find it challenging to break their dog of this habit, and don't realize they may be contributing to the problem. If the dog does not get what it wants, it may even bark at you, paw at you, or climb up on the couch or chair to get closer to you to make its point.
If you can train your dog to go somewhere else on command, or confine it to another area, this may stop it from begging. This might seem worse than the begging, but if you stick with the routine and are consistent, you will eventually stop the undesired behavior.
The dog should have a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight for a long life, and feeding from the table will compromise those goals.


If you have a new dog, never give it table scraps, and it won't ever expect to receive any. After all, dogs can't magically tell the difference between "OK begging" and "not OK begging" so you must make begging never OK. Sometimes breaking yourself of your own bad habits can be a challenging but necessary part of ending the begging.
Just know that if you give in and reward any behavior you do not want reinforced, you will train your dog to perform that obnoxious behavior in the future. However, if you can dedicate yourself to breaking the cycle of begging for a few weeks, the problem can usually be resolved. Once the dog understands the command and performs it reliably, then you can introduce the added challenge of using it when the distractions are high (e.g at dinner time).



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