Begging is a habit which most dog owners do not like and yet many dogs only exhibit the behaviour because it is either encouraged or rewarded by the owner.

Why Do Dogs Beg

Dogs are programmed to eat whenever food is available, theoretically because they do not know when the next meal is coming even though most will tell you when it’s dinner time! They also have the ability to regurgitate food for their pups, so even if they are not hungry, they can fill their stomach.

If a behaviour brings reward, that behaviour will always be repeated. Equally, if a behaviour is not rewarded it will diminish. Therefore, even if it’s ‘just this once’ unwanted begging can result. Also if not all members of the family follow the same rules and your dog is intermittently fed a treat from a plate, it can ingrain the behaviour creating a long term problem and making it harder to stop It also can lead to obesity and digestive problems.

What Can I do To Stop it?

Have a bed or mat a distance away from the table. Ask your dog to lay down on the mat as you eat our meal. If your dog gets up, calmly bring her back to her mat and ask her to stay. Go back to your meal. It is important that you give your her no attention whilst you are eating. Repeat as much as you need to. If the behaviour is already a problem, it may be best to begin training with a small snack rather than a whole meal. It will be less time that she has to stay on her mat and short exposures are better when a new beahvour is being learned, plus it wil be less intrusive for you.

Maddie Knight

ACC.Ad.Dip.Can.Psy AMACC Canine Psychologist and Behaviourist
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