5 Ways to Deal With Your Dog Begging for Food
Do you often find your dog staring at you with their big puppy dog eyes and begging for food every time you go to the kitchen? Are they always trying to get a bite of whatever delicious meal or snack you're eating?
This is one of the most common discipline issues that many pet owners face. Fortunately, there are many ways to help stop your pet from constantly begging for food. If you want tips on curbing the constant 'food asking' from your furry companion, read on, and we'll lay out the best tricks to help.
Bad Behavior or Just Hungry? 4 Reasons Why Dogs Beg for Food
It can be hard to resist giving in and giving your dog a bite or two of your own meal, but you must understand that this behavior indicates more than just bad etiquette on the part of your dog.
Knowing why your pup begs for food will help you better discern when it is appropriate (like training rewards) or inappropriate (like having them beg from strangers). So, here are some possible reasons behind this unwanted behavior:
Dogs beg for food because they are equipped with an instinct to scavenge and eat. As pack animals, they have a habit of competing with other dogs in their family or pack to ensure they get ample nutrition.
Since dogs are used to searching and scavenging for food scraps, even over centuries of domestication, this behavior remains in our beloved pets. Even when they're well-fed, dogs won't give up on the idea that they may still find more food.
It's a Learned Behavior
It's natural for dogs to be curious about what you're eating and want a taste, but when they sense they can get food without having to work for it, they'll beg more often.
While feeding your dog when it begs for food seems like an innocent act, it can lead to a learned behavior of food begging. Dogs quickly learn that by begging, they get the food they want. This encourages their bad behavior, which later turns into a habit.
Pet Owners Fall for Puppy Dog Eyes
Dog owners can easily fall for their pup's sad eyes, often sharing their dinner with their pet. But, unfortunately, making your dogs feel happy and secure by indulging their cravings gives way to future habits that aren't always the best for them.
The truth is, begging for food isn't just a display of cuteness. Dogs may beg for food out of habit because they know it's an effective means to get delicious (and not always healthy) treats from your table.
They Lack Nutrition
Taking a closer look into the ingredients of your pet's food can be beneficial in ensuring they are getting the proper nutrition they need. Unfortunately, if their diet isn't properly balanced, you may find that your pup soon begins to beg for more food, as their body is trying to signal them to seek out more essential nutrients.
4 Reasons to Stop Your Dog’s Begging Behavior
Teaching a dog not to beg is easier said than done, but this behavior can be quickly corrected with patience and consistency. To motivate you to train your dog, here are some reasons why it's a must to solve your dog's food-begging problem:
Taking care of your pup is a labor of love and becoming aware of the food they are consuming is a great way to show that you care. It's easy to unintentionally overfeed your dog, particularly when they start begging for more food at the dinner table.
But consistently going beyond the recommended amount of food can lead to unhealthy consequences, such as obesity or serious illnesses in your beloved pup.
They'll Get Used to Eating Human Food
Every dog owner wants to show their pup love, but tough love is sometimes necessary. It can be hard to resist giving your pup table scraps when begging, but it is important to remember that some human food are not good for dogs' digestive systems and could even be toxic.
Once your furry friend discovers that begging works on you, you may as well kiss your peace goodbye. Eating at the table will become a lesson in patience as they faithfully place their paws on edge in anticipation.
They'll be eager to wait for some treats even when you're snacking away from the dining table. Don't be surprised when your pup approaches you with great enthusiasm and excitement when cooking. They will be there to ask for food with their pleading eyes.
Retraining will be Challenging
Training your dog is essential if you want to raise a well-behaved pup—the sooner you start, the better. If you don't start early in training your dog, begging may become a challenging and persistent habit to break.
Additionally, if these behaviors aren't squashed early on, you'll have difficulty training your furry friend about good habits.
5 Tricks to Stop Begging Dog Behavior
Felt embarrassed by your pup begging for food from your dinner guests? Many dog owners also experience this and wonder how best to stop it. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to put an end to the begging.
Update Your Dog's Diet
Changing your dog's diet is an effective way to prevent them from constantly begging for food. However, the dog food they eat may become physically unappealing, or your pup's nutritional needs may change as they grow.
That's why it's important to take a closer look at your dog's diet and consider opting for something that meets their dietary requirements. Ensure you visit your veterinarian for expert guidance on your dog's nutritional needs.
Organize Their Mealtimes
If you find your pup is especially motivated by food, a potential solution is to use their own dog food as a distraction. Incorporating a routine in feeding your pet can reduce the begging as your pet is full.
Additionally, give them their meals at the same time you are about to eat. This helps ensure that your pup stays focused on its own food rather than yours. It's also important to remember that these distractions should come with rewards and verbal praise so your dog can truly understand what is expected of them.
Ignore the Unwanted Behavior
Training your pup not to beg for food is important for establishing healthy eating habits. While it can be hard for you not to give in to your pet's pleading eyes, the best way to stop your dog from begging is by turning away from them and avoiding eye contact (the weakness of many pet parents).
Although ignoring them might take a great amount of determination and self-control, doing this every time your pup begs for food will teach them that this kind of behavior will no longer work anymore.
As frustrating as it may seem at first, eventually, your pup will get the message. With a little patience, they'll learn that the reward they seek won't come if they beg at the table.
Have a Designated Spot for Feeding
Having a pup in the dining area can cause havoc during meal times. However, by removing your pup from the action and giving them their own cozy spot to rest, you are one step closer to ensuring that your pup wouldn't be begging for table scraps.
Pick them a special spot where they'll feel safe and secure such as their dog bed or favorite room. Make sure to praise them generously when they stay there.
Use Positive Reinforcement Training
As much as you sometimes want to give in to your furry friend's cute begging faces, remember that consistent rewards for good behavior will help them in the long run. When training your dog, recognizing and rewarding their good behavior is key.
Using positive reinforcement techniques like reward-based training can teach your furry friend that they won't get any treats or table scraps while you're eating. Taking the time to reward these moments can help ingrain those positive behaviors with treats or playtime together. This reinforces your message that certain behaviors have their own rewards—a way of saying, "I love what you just did!" in canine speak!
However, when choosing what kind of treats and when to give them, remember that giving treats at the dinner table will likely encourage bad habits like begging, so try sitting away from the table.
Is Your Patience Ready to be Tested?
Keeping a dog at home can bring so much joy, but it can sometimes also be challenging. Training your dog not to beg for food at the dinner table is one of those moments. Will you feel guilty if you don't give them table food during dinner? Those puppy eyes can be hard to ignore!
If you don't have the patience or capacity to commit to training your pup, try getting a pet alternative. Perfect Petzzz offers lifelike pups that you can snuggle without worrying they'll beg for table scraps come mealtime.
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