Most of us have slipped a tasty table scrap to our pet. While the occasional morsel of left-over lean meat, unbuttered vegetables, or plain rice won't harm your dog, even one tiny table feeding teaches your dog to beg for food. If left unchecked, you'll quickly end up with a dog who spends every meal circling the table and relentlessly whining until food is given. While this behavior may not bother you, chances are that a few of your future dinner guests will not appreciate a tongue-wagging dog at their elbows while they try to eat their meal. However, there are ways to curb your dog's begging ways, both before it becomes a habit, and after his distasteful table dependence has begun.
The Health Dangers of Table Scraps
In fact, table scraps are more of a danger to your dog's health than they are a reward for his companionship and good behavior. Instead, choose quality nutritious treats to reward your pet. Treats are developed with your pet's nutritional needs in mind. When carefully chosen and given in moderation, they should not interfere with your pet's nutritional needs or overall health.
How to Fix Your Dog's Begging Problem
The first step is to stop feeding him table scraps, especially while you are seated at the table. You also need to inform friends and family that while they are welcome at your dinner table, your dog is not. The goal is to train your dog to take food only when it is his meal time or when you offer him treats, not when he begs for them.
Begin by having your dog sit while you prepare his food away from the dinner table. Then place his food on the floor while he sits. Only let your dog approach his food dish after you have told him it is "Okay." It may take several sessions but be patient. The key is to remain firm and acknowledge his correct behavior. Until your dog's retraining is complete you may want to also try the following steps: