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How to Stop Your Dog From Begging

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Begging is a behavior that is essentially harmless, but distracting and annoying all the same. While dogs do deserve to eat in peace, so do we, and for people, eating becomes uncomfortable when we are being examined by a drooling dog.

Why Dogs Beg
Begging is not a natural, instinctual behavior; it is a learned behavior. This means that at some point in his life, he will have learned that begging gets him results. You can prevent him from learning this irritating behavior.

Begging starts when a dog's family starts to share people food with him. Somebody slips him something from table because they don;t like it, or a generous family lets their dog lick the plates clean, or dispose of minor leftovers. It doesn't take long before Pooch is waiting by the table, drooling in anticipation of the leftovers that he knows he'll get, or he's sitting very watching you eat, hoping you'll slip him something from your plate again. As soon as you feed him from something you are eating, you've taught him to ask for more.

Don't Teach Him to Beg
It is not natural for a dog to mooch from his pack leader (you), or from other pack members that are ranked higher than he is (your other family members), unless it's a direct challenge. If it is a challenge, then you have bigger problems than mere begging.

From the day you bring him home, establish a dinner-time routine: when it's time for your family to sit and eat, then it's time for the dog to be crated. Or, if not crated, at least not in the room as the family meal.

How to Stop Begging That's Started Already
This is going to take a lot of persistence on your part. Just don't give him anything. Remember, if you give in, even just one time, you've just rewarded the begging and now he knows that if he stares and whines long enough, you'll give in again. Use these suggestions to help you out-stubborn your dog:
  • Crate him during mealtimes. Remember that crate I mentioned earlier? It's not too late to start undoing the behavior. Start now by putting your dog out of sight and away from your family during mealtimes. This will also prevent any saboteurs of the short and young variety. Kids love to feed dogs under the table! Not only does it encourage doggy loyalty, but it also conveniently disposes of those pesky vegetables.
  • Feed him at the same time that your family eats. He'll be too occupied with his own food to be concerned with yours. Even better if you feed him in a different room altogether.
  • Every time he comes near when you or other people are eating, give him a firm command to take himself elsewhere. That might be to his crate, to go lay down, or even just to leave the room, but don't let him sit and get comfortable near people that are eating.
You may have noticed that all of these helpful hints have to do with removing your dog from scene. This form of negative reinforcement is really what will work best along with complete refusal to give in to his begging. Don't forget, you'll have to out-stubborn him, and dogs can be very stubborn indeed.
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