If there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s a begging dog inches from my fork every time I eat. My dog has actually sat next to me on the couch and taken a bite of my food while my fork was on its way to my mouth before! Since I am a bad dog momma who feeds her from my plate, can I blame her that she just helps herself? Well, enough was enough and I quickly and firmly changed her (and my) behavior so she now lays at my feet, or even in another room while we eat without trying to hypnotize us into giving her our food.
First, if you want your dog to stop begging when you eat, you have to quit giving them treats. That’s like rewarding a temper tantrum from your child with the toy or treat they wanted. Your dog begs because you feed them. Knock it off, or else you are only encouraging them to beg.
Feed your dog dinner the same time you eat. I feed my dog just before I sit down to dinner, so she can eat her meal while we eat ours. If she finishes her meal and wanders into the living room where we are enjoying dinner, we don’t do anything unless she walks over to beg or starts sniffing our plates. We then tell her to lay down firmly, and she wanders away and pouts on the couch or underneath the curtains by the TV.
Don’t let your dog lick your plate when you’re done with your food. This just reaffirms that it’s OK to beg. If you want to give your dog a treat when you are through with dinner, put your plate in the sink and give your dog a dog treat. Giving them your plate to lick (I used to do this all the time) just tells your dog to go ahead and and beg because they’ll eventually get your food in the end. It’s best to just train yourself to not give them people treats at all at dinner.
Stay firm, which means don’t let the kids feed the dog either. My dog is a begging queen when we have the kids, because they love the novelty of treating her, which throws all her non-begging training out the window. We have to stay on top of the issue, because if you give a dog an inch, they’ll take the whole damn mile.
Above all, don’t give in to those sad puppy eyes. Your dog is not starving to death, and will absolutely not die if you don’t give them your food. Make them lie down if they are inches from your plate (even worse is when they lick the air a centimeter from your plate like mine does) and stay firm about not feeding them your food. Eventually your dog will learn that your dinner is not theirs.