This one goes out to the food beggars out there. You know who you are.
The biggest mistake you can make is thinking that giving a dog food when he is begging will help you get some peace. Sure, in the moment the dog leaves you alone to eat the tiny morsel you just gave him. Ugh, finally! But in actuality you just invested for more of the same for the future. Why? Well he asked for food (by whining, pawing, barking etc) and you gave it to him. Whether it took 5 minutes or 30 minutes doesn’t matter. He asked, you gave. So he thinks, “Next time I will ask for just as long or wait out a little bit longer. The probability that my human will give me food is in my favor, since last time I got a piece.” Hmm.. you may be thinking that’s a bit too analytical for a dog.
But if there is one thing animals (including ourselves) get efficiently, it’s cause and effect.
Alright, I can already hear you asking for a solution. I’m going to give you a quick fix. Sometimes this is enough for a dog to leave you alone and sometimes due to how long he’s been asking and humans have been giving, it could work partially or not at all. If you need more training options and want this problem to be resolved contact me here, I answer texts, emails and calls. So let’s get into it, eh?
Reduce Begging – Replace Unwanted Behavior with Separate Behavior
1. Give your dog a very special chewie or special stuffed toy reserved only for the time he normally begs before he starts to beg or youll just reward begging. Or give a kong filled with dogs kibble and pumpkin puree and a bit of peanut butter. Another recipe could be a bit of their kibble mixed with their food’s wet food. Grab a mug, place kong in it and fill kong up, place in freezer. Otherwise, you can just give it to your pup room temp. Either way, this toy has to be something that they cannot resist. As soon as you are done eating/cooking the toy gets put away till next time. If you use peanut butter about a teaspoon (xylitol free) should do the trick. Please call your vet before you give any fresh food. Be advised that fresh food may cause your dog some stomach upset. What’s A Kong?
Advanced Work – Taking It One Step Further (not for everybody)
Ideally, you give it to her on her bed or a blanket or other comfy place *nearby*. If she tries to go somewhere else don’t let her. You can tether (tie her leash to something sturdy) her or ask her to come back to said spot. Why? Because I want it to be clear to her that this is her new activity when you are eating or cooking or both. If she begs the most while you are cooking than that’s the best time to give it to her, so start there. Soon she will anticipate her special toy, chew toy or kong and when she sees you are eating or cooking she runs to her spot eagerly. (Note: if she is desperately trying to get to you and ignores her yummy, then dont do this extra step.)
2. If you are going to try number one than you have to make sure everybody else in the household knows you are going on a training plan. Food begging will not go away as quickly as it would if everybody makes a blood pact to stop giving the dog food and even try #1 themselves. I can’t tell you how to convince your partner but if you ask them to give up feeding the dog at the dinner table/kitchen than make it worth it for them by giving them something in return. For example, does she want to go to some Wine and Paint event with you? Take her. Does he want a weekend away with the guys? Give it to him. Do they want you to give up or throw away something? Do it.
Try these suggestions to reduce begging and for more information on my services click here.