How to Get Your Dog to Stop Begging for Food

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Begging for Food

A small dog stares up at a plate of food.A small dog stares up at a plate of food.
A small dog stares up at a plate of food.A small dog stares up at a plate of food.

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Begging in dogs can be an adorable behavior in the eyes of some and the most annoying behavior in the eyes of others.

Why Do Dogs Beg?

Begging is a learned behavior that pet parents teach their dog. The begging is rewarded by a snack and the cycle continues. The best thing to do is to not encourage begging to begin with. It is easier not to allow the begging behavior to begin with than it is to untrain begging behavior.

What It Looks Like When a Dog is Begging For Food

The classic begging dog sits or stands inches to feet from you when you are eating staring you in the eye. They also make whining noises or paw at your leg to get your attention. Even more annoying is a dog that barks until they get a treat. A snack appeases them for a few seconds or minutes only to start again.

3 Reasons to Not Encourage Your Dog to Beg

There are some good reasons not to encourage begging behavior.

  1. Company. A good reason to not encourage your dog to beg is to not annoy your friends and company. Not everyone finds the trait as adorable as you do.
  2. Stealing. The behavior of begging can encourage dogs to steal food. This is not only annoying but also dangerous. Some dogs will steal toxic food. For example, bones can be dangerous or food on counters can be scalding hot causing burns.
  3. Dangers. You may be aware of food toxicities such as peanut butter with xylitol or grapes and raisins but your friends, neighbors, or family may not know which foods are toxic. Others may see you give food to your begging dog and believe it is okay for them to do so too.

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Begging for Food 

Begging is a behavior that is as annoying to those around you as dogs that are encouraged to jump on you. Begging can also be a very difficult behavior to break. Below are tips to get your dog to stop begging for food:

  • Be consistent. Make sure everyone in the home is on the same page to stop the begging behavior. It is difficult to have one person in the house encouraging begging while the others are not. This is confusing to the dog and makes them unsure about their lives and what is expected of them.
  • Create a feeding schedule. Develop a schedule of when you will feed your dog. Dogs like routine and find it comforting to have a schedule. For most dogs, a twice-daily feeding regimen works well. As an example, you could feed at 7 am and 7 pm. When your dog eats, give him praise.
  • Feed dinner at dinnertime. Feed your dog when you are eating so he has something to do and is only focused on his own food. Feed your dog in a location different from where you and your family are eating.
  • Consider crate training. Training your dog to love the crate is good on many levels. Dogs that are crate trained find comfort and security in the crate. You can put your dog in its crate during meals which can control begging.
  • Don’t give in. Once you decide that there will be no begging, DON’T give in. Giving in is the worst thing you can do. Dogs can be relentless. One small treat will encourage them to beg for months, even years.
  • Train.  To keep a happy home, consider training with your dog. Ensure your dog understands you are the pack leader and knows basic commands such as sit, stay, and come. You can also train your dog to “wait”. This can create an acceptable behavior of allowing your dog to patiently wait until a treat is acceptable.
  • Don’t punish your dog. When your dog is begging, you need to remember that you or some other human-created this behavior. This is a learned behavior that he has been rewarded for. To punish him suddenly for something he has been rewarded for is confusing and he won’t understand what the punishment is for.  Instead, reward the behavior you desire.

A well-behaved dog is a pleasure to be around and for others to come to your home and also be around your dog. One thing to consider is if you encourage and enjoy the begging dog, put him away when company is there.

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