Is Your Dog a “Beggar”?

27 02 2009

Buster BegsFirst, I want to remind everyone that some things that are so cute when you have a puppy, are not so cute when they are grown! Begging is one of those behaviors.

You know how cute it seems when a puppy begs for attention, food, or other goodies from their human?  Keep in mind how not cute that will be when they are no longer fuzzy little fur balls.  Like when they are 100 pound adults, begging for that Big Mac you barely have time to woof down before working from home for the next couple hours so that you still meet your deadline at work tomorrow when you just walk in the door after a grueling 12 or 14 hour day at the office.  (Not that yours truly would have ever done that :))

You may be asking, “Why do dogs beg?”  The answer is simple…  We want something, just like when humans beg.  Some people do not want to hear this about their dogs, but dogs are scavengers.  They have been known to eat garbage!  This is probably one of the main reasons that dogs have such a bond with humans.  Humans make a lot of garbage, and dogs love to go through their human’s leftovers.

To help you eliminate begging from you dog’s repertoire, when he or she is a puppy, they should be in their crate when you and your family are eating.  Remember when we talked about keeping your eyes on the dog being Rule #1 during potty training?  It is also Rule #1 when we are working on getting rid of begging.  Train your dog to go to his room, crate, place, whatever you want to call it when it is meal time.  It is also a good idea to coincide your dog’s feeding time to occur about an hour before your meal time.  He may still want some of what you are having, but he is not going to be driven by hunger.  Mom is not going to have any of that though.  She says that alphas eat first and since the humans are alphas, no dog in my house going to eat before Mom!

If your puppy is out of his crate come meal time, he will probably follow you to the table crying, pawing, and salivating for your food like he has not eaten in days.  This is no way to enjoy your meal, and your guests, if you have them, will be unable to enjoy theirs.  The best way to combat begging from your dog at meal time is to never feed your dog or puppy directly from the table!  Also, it is very important that no one else is allowed to either.  This will strike the urge to beg at its foundation, keeping it from being an issue to tackle later on.

Unless your dog knows not to beg, he needs to be separated from you (in his crate, room, etc.) during human meal time.  If you do allow your dog out of the crate and he begins begging, simply ignore him.  This also applies to dogs that beg to be touched or walked.  Make sure that you do not give them any special attention as a result of their begging, like sending them away to their crate or to a different room.  Though it is negative attention, it is still attention that you dog is craving.  Ignoring him will show that meal time is a special time where he will not beg, nor will he given any attention.

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