BREAKING BAD HABITS: STOP YOUR DOG FROM BEGGING
A begging dog can ruin dinner-time and the sooner you can stop it the better. Before we got a dog, my husband and I used to listen to music while we ate. Often, we would have some kind of jazz or blues in the background and it created a mood of peace and relaxation after a day at work.
Since Lily joined the family, our evening meals have been less relaxing. The sound accompanying our chewing now tends to be a high-pitched whine. There is a reason why no restaurant chooses to play dog noises while diners ingest their food. It is because the screeching noise is neither pleasant, nor relaxing. So, we decided to do something about it.
The good news was that correcting a dog’s begging behaviour is not difficult. It requires willpower and consistency but little more on your part. We were able to bring Lily’s begging under control fairly simply, but we had to stand firm and not cave, even when she looked up at us with those big brown eyes inviting us to give her a little treat.
The first thing to do was to completely ignore her. When most dogs beg, they are essentially looking for attention. We had to show her that she won’t get her way by begging at the dinner table. So, we cut her off. Didn’t acknowledge her, didn’t look at her, just left her alone. Initially she was confused and panicked and frantically ran between the two of us looking for some attention, but she soon got the message.
ONLY FEED THEM FROM THEIR BOWL
The next thing was to show Lily that there was only one place in the house she would be getting food from and that was her bowl. We still gave her treats whilst out on walks. But within the house we only fed her from her bowl and only after we had eaten.
GET THEM TO SIT OR LAY DOWN WHILE YOU EAT
Lily was already pretty well trained and if we told her to sit or lay down then commanded her to stay, usually she would stay in that position for a short time. She was still fairly young and had a lot of energy. The more she learnt to stay, the longer she was able to stay laying down while we were eating. Putting her into the laying position and telling her to stay at the start of the meal bought us more time until she got up and started begging again.
AS THE PROBLEM PERSISTED WE INTRODUCED A “TIMEOUT”
After a few days, we introduced the “timeout”. Every time Lily approached the table whining and begging, we would take her out of the room for 5-10 minutes. When she came back in, we would put her back in her laying position and tell her to stay again. If she was quiet and remained lying down, she was allowed to stay near to the table with us. If she started up again, she would be put outside again. She soon realised how to avoid being turfed out of the dining room and left on her own.
Consistency is key. Apply your rules with consistency and your dog will soon learn. Don’t break. It might take a while but be patient and don’t buckle and your dog will get there, like Lily did.
Is there anything you can add to this article? Do you have any other tips that would help? Share your experience through the comments section below.