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How to Get Your Dog to Stop Begging at the Table

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Begging at the Table

Confessions of a Dog Owner: Begging is Totally Fine (If You Say So)

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a furry friend practically climb into your lap while you’re trying to enjoy a nice, peaceful meal. Yup, that’s what I thought – nearly every dog owner has experienced the dreaded “table beggar.”

As a proud dog parent myself, I’ll admit that I used to feel a twinge of guilt whenever my pup would start whining and pawing at my legs, desperately hoping for a bite of my dinner. I mean, aren’t we supposed to train our dogs not to beg? Isn’t that, like, Dog Ownership 101? Well, let me let you in on a little secret: I really couldn’t care less if my dog begs at the table. In fact, I’ve come to embrace it as part of his charming personality.

Now, before you dog trainers out there start shaking your heads in disapproval, hear me out. Unless your dog’s begging behavior is accompanied by more concerning issues like resource guarding or food aggression, I firmly believe that a little table begging is perfectly acceptable – as long as it doesn’t bother you or your family. After all, life is way too short to worry about so-called “behavior problems” that aren’t actually problematic for you. If you’re cool with sharing the occasional green bean or piece of chicken with your furry friend, then by all means, go for it! Just don’t let anyone shame you for it.

Blocking Access is Key (But You Can Get Lazy About It)

Of course, there are still some cases where table begging really does need to be addressed. Maybe your dog’s constant pestering is starting to drive you and your guests crazy. Or perhaps you’re worried about the potential health risks of feeding your pup too many human foods. In those situations, it’s time to take action.

The first and most obvious solution is to physically prevent your dog from accessing the table or kitchen area while you’re eating. This can be as simple as confining them to a different room with the help of a baby gate or crate. Just make sure to provide them with an alternative activity, like a puzzle toy stuffed with their regular dog food, to keep them occupied and content.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But what if my dog is a master escape artist? Or what if my kids keep sneaking him scraps behind my back?” If those kinds of challenges are making it difficult for you to keep your dog away from the table, don’t worry – there’s an even lazier approach you can try.

The “Lazy” Approach to Ending Begging

Instead of constantly having to get up and shoo your dog away from the table, why not teach them that good things come to those who keep their distance? Here’s how it works:

During mealtimes, place a stash of tasty treats on the table. Whenever your pup wanders away from the table, even just for a few steps, reward them with one of those treats. Keep doing this, gradually increasing the amount of time you need to see them away from the table before rewarding.

Eventually, your dog will realize that the best way to earn those delicious treats is to hang out somewhere other than right next to your plate. They’ll start to figure out that the further they are from the table, the more rewards they’ll receive. It’s a win-win – you get to eat in peace, and your pup gets to enjoy some yummy snacks. Talk about a lazy dog trainer’s dream!

The “Sit and Stay” Solution

Of course, if you’re willing to put in a bit more effort, there’s another effective method for curbing table begging that doesn’t involve quite as much sneakiness. It’s the good old-fashioned “sit and stay” training technique.

Start by teaching your dog the “sit” and “stay” commands in a distraction-free environment. Once they’ve mastered those basics, you can begin incorporating them into your mealtime routine. Whenever your dog starts to approach the table, simply instruct them to “sit” and “stay” in a designated spot nearby. Reward them with praise and treats when they obey.

Over time, you can gradually increase the distance between your dog’s “spot” and the table, always rewarding them for remaining calm and composed. This not only teaches them an alternative behavior (sitting and staying) but also reinforces the idea that good things happen when they’re not begging for table scraps.

And the best part? You can even enlist the help of your family members to make this training even more effective. Imagine – no more frantic scrambling to shoo your dog away from the dinner table. Instead, everyone can work together to reinforce the “sit and stay” command, making mealtimes peaceful and enjoyable for all.

Consistency is Key (But Your Dog Can Do the Work)

Whichever method you choose to tackle table begging, the key to success is consistency. Whether you’re physically keeping your dog away from the table, rewarding them for keeping their distance, or teaching them the “sit and stay” command, you need to be diligent and unwavering in your approach.

But here’s the good news: with a little creativity and a whole lot of patience, you can actually let your dog do most of the work for you. Take the “lazy” treat-tossing method, for example. Once your pup figures out that keeping away from the table is the path to delicious rewards, they’ll practically do the training for you. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy your meal (without a furry friend in your face).

So, the next time your dog starts circling the table, whining and begging for a bite of your dinner, don’t feel guilty about giving in. Instead, take a deep breath and remind yourself that a little table-side pestering is nothing to fret about. With the right training techniques and a healthy dose of consistency, you can teach your pup to keep their distance – all while still enjoying the occasional cuddle and a few tasty table scraps.

And who knows, maybe one day your dog will even learn to set the table for you. A pet owner can dream, right?

I Have Dogs is the premier destination for all your canine care and adoption needs. Visit our website to learn more about responsible dog ownership, find your next furry friend, and discover a wealth of resources to help you and your pup live your best life together.

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