This is the fourth in a series of posts about solving common problems with puppies. Follow the whole series by subscribing to our blog at the bottom of the page.
It’s dinner time and your family sits down to enjoy your meal and discuss the day, and your dog, your pooch, your pal, your baby, sits by your side all doe-eyed and sweet, just waiting to be given a morsel of whatever you’re having. It’s too cute at first. But it happens all the time, even when you have guests over. How can you put an end to this annoying behavior?
The obvious answer is, don’t start it. Never feed your dog from the table. It’s a bad habit to get into, it doesn’t do your dog any good – he gets fed enough – and if you start it will be twice as hard to stop for both you and your dog. That cute face is hard to resist. But resist you must.
You can also give your dog something else to do. Create a cushy place for him to be while you are eating and give him his own bone to chew on. If he comes to the table, lead him back to the cushy spot. Do this enough, and with complete intent, and you will find repetition does work—eventually.
If your dog is used to a crate, mealtime is a good time to get in the habit of crating him. Put a chew toy in the crate so he knows this isn’t punishment. You may hear some adorable whimpering, but you should pay no attention to it. In time he will settle down and get the idea.
If nothing else seems to work, get one of those baby gates and just section him off from the dining room. If he can’t get in, he can’t beg. And in time he will get used to it.
The most important things are your commitment to changing this behavior, and patience – with yourself as well as with your dog. If you are used to feeding him from the table, this may be hard on you too. Food should not be equated with affection. And you are not depriving your dog of either nourishment or love by stopping table begging. You are being the pack leader and setting limits.
For a great dog breeder that specializes in small breeds, contact Pauley’s Pets, serving Ashland, Hanover, and Richmond, Virginia.