If there’s one behavior virtually every dog exhibits, it’s a drive to obtain delicious foods. As a result, many owners of puppies are concerned with eliminating begging behavior before it becomes a habit for their dog.
We’ve all experienced eating near a grown dog with poor manners; the dog will whine, paw, and even bark in an effort to get human food from the table. This kind of misbehavior disrupts the meal, makes guests uncomfortable, and ultimately can result in a dog consuming food that is unhealthy—and even dangerous—for them.
Why Do Dogs Beg?
Unlike more complex puppy issues, this is straightforward. Dogs beg because our food smells incredible, nearly always more delicious than their kibble or wet food. Dogs have a highly sensitive sense of smell, and they are naturally attracted to the foods we are eating.
For certain dogs, like hounds of all types, their sense of smell will override their other senses. A hound smelling something that catches their attention will be especially difficult to redirect.
For tall dogs, dogs who climb, or dogs with excellent reach (we’re looking at you, boxers!), preventing begging for (and snagging) human food can be quite challenging. If you turn your back for even a moment, these larger and agile breeds may swipe food from the counter or table.
Food as Reinforcement
We use food to teach a dog to repeat a trained behavior. This often means that any action a dog takes that gets them a high-value food item (even if this involves them begging or snatching people food) will be a behavior that is immediately reinforced.
For this reason, it’s imperative to train a dog to respect your boundaries around your food before they have the opportunity to train themselves to go after food at any cost.
Begging and food stealing are, therefore, behaviors we will help every client with.
At All Dogs Unleashed, we believe in creating clear expectations from the puppy stage onward. When you work with us, your dog will be trained to look to you for commands, permission, and guidance.
This relationship between the two of you will form the cornerstone of your dog’s more complex training, of course, but it will also result in your dog waiting for YOU to offer food. Once your dog understands that you are in control of when, where, and which food will be given, the stress of begging and food stealing will be eliminated.
Give yourself a good start by offering zero table scraps.
Don’t feed your dog from the table, don’t offer scraps at the end of the meal, and ignore your dog while you eat.
If you have already begun any of these patterns, stop immediately. Next, reach out to All Dogs Unleashed for remedial training. By addressing these negative behaviors in a structured setting, we can restore your dog to a healthy, respectful baseline of ignoring your food items.
Protect your dog’s health and your sanity by eliminating begging behavior with All Dogs Unleashed!