As any professional dog trainer in Los Angeles will tell you, begging is one of the most common canine behavior problems.
For dogs, begging comes naturally – but knowing that doesn’t make the issue any less annoying. And while giving in can be tempting, doing so simply reinforces the undesired behavior. Plus, offering table scraps to your pooch can bring about tummy troubles or, worse, health complications.
If your tail-wagger sits at your feet and gives you those irresistible puppy-dog eyes every time you touch food, the following strategies may help bring that to a stop. See which method works for your furry beggar, and if you’re struggling to find an effective solution, you can always turn to a Los Angeles dog trainer.
Feed Your Dog First
Whether you’re grabbing a quick lunch or making dinner, professional dog trainers suggest feeding your pooch right before you sit down to eat.
Providing a tasty meal – preferably in different room than the one where you’ll be eating — will distract their attention from your plate. Also, when your fur baby’s belly is full, they’ll be less likely to come begging for your food.
Ignore the Begging
Dog trainers say that paying absolutely no attention to your four-legged pal when they’re begging can be a good way to solve the behavior problem.
Turning a blind eye can be quite difficult, but if your pooch has other options (like an interactive puzzle toy or treat ball), they’ll figure out how to occupy the time. Ignore any efforts to capture your attention, and the begging should stop.
Redirect Your Dog
Another technique dog trainers recommend is to respond to begging by redirecting your furry friend and sending them away from the immediate area.
Place a dog crate or cozy bed in the room where you eat meals, and when your dog starts to beg at the table, firmly tell them to go to their spot. With this approach, your pooch can learn to stop begging while getting the chance to socialize.
Barricade the Area
If your furry beggar is particularly persistent, professional dog trainers say that blocking access to the dining area may be the best solution.
Using pet gates to close off the area or confining your dog to their crate when you’re having a meal means you won’t have to be bothered by any begging. But be sure to provide an alternate activity, such as a chew toy stuffed with tasty treats.
Teach Basic Obedience
If your tail-wagger understands basic commands like sit, stay and down, dog trainers say you can use the commands to make the begging stop.
When your furry pal starts moving toward the table to beg, simply tell them to stay. If they jump up or sit on their hind legs, give the down or sit command. These types of reactions help discourage unwanted behaviors, but only if you don’t engage any further.
Dispose of Dropped Food
According to professional dog trainers, letting your fur baby provide after-meal vacuum services will only encourage them to beg when you sit down to eat.
Grabbing the broom or using a Swiffer may seem like more work than it’s worth, particularly if your pooch is more than willing to clean up for you. But if you get rid of any food that falls to the floor, you may soon see that begging is a thing of the past.
Reward Good Behavior
When you’re able to get through mealtime without your dog begging for food, dog trainers say that’s the time to offer a treat.
However, providing a reward while you’re still seated at the table can backfire. Instead, grab a dog treat from the refrigerator or pantry and take it over to your four-legged pal. Or, grab the leash or make time for a play session when you’re done eating.
Turn to a Professional Dog Trainer
We already mentioned that begging is a common canine behavior problem. One reason for this is that teaching a dog not to beg is no easy task. If you’re like many pet parents in the Los Angeles area, you might find that your efforts are less than successful – and if that ends up being the case, enlisting the help of a dog trainer may make sense.
The professional team at iWorkDogs Dog Training Company has extensive experience dealing with undesired canine behaviors, and we know how to provide results. We work with puppies and adult dogs of all breeds and dispositions, and our talented dog trainers are fully committed to helping canines become happy, well-trained and well-adjusted family companions.
At iWorkDogs, we have a different approach to dog training than most other professionals in Los Angeles and the surrounding southern California area. We’ve come to learn that canines derive great benefits from immersion training, and if you enroll your fur baby in one of our board-and-train programs, our team will find a way to stop them from begging at the table.
Immersive, live-in dog training with iWorkDogs is effective thanks to our use of positive reinforcement and rewards-based techniques – but we make sure that the experience is also quite fun. For more information on how we’ll go about stopping your fur baby from begging, or to schedule an appointment to consult with one of the best professional dog trainers in Los Angeles, California, contact us today.