Teaching Your Dog Not to Beg While You Are Eating

I can’t stand it when a dog stares at me while I am eating. When I was growing up, none of the dogs in our house ever begged. So I am often surprised when I visit a friend who has a dog and the dog goes from person to person to beg for food. I suppose most people don’t realize that you can teach your dog not to beg. It may be hard for the dog at first, but it can be done.

The most important thing to remember when teaching a dog not to beg is to not encourage the behavior to begin with. Never ever feed a dog from your plate while you are eating. In fact, you should completely ignore your dog during meal times. Don’t allow your family members or visitors to your home to do it either. If you must give your dog pieces of food that you don’t want, give it to them after you are done eating and when you are away from the table.

Another method of keeping your dog from begging is to not give your dog the opportunity to beg. During meal times, confine your dog to their crate, outside, or in another room. This method is a good method to use when other methods are not working.

If your dog can do the down-stay command, you can have them down-stay from a distance while you are eating. This is a very long down-stay so you shouldn’t try it unless your dog has mastered the down-stay command. If your dog gets up to move, tell them “No” in a very firm voice. “Eh eh” is another word you can use. Be consistent and use the word which you normally use when your dog does something they are not supposed to. After you are done eating, feel free to reward your dog with lots of treats if they have managed to down-stay during the entire meal. It is okay to still reward them even if they tried to get up a couple of times. Just as long as they are still staying after you are done eating.

If it is not meal time and you are just eating a snack, tell your dog “No begging” in a very firm voice and turn around and ignore them. If your dog tries to get in position to watch you again, give the “No begging” command again and keep turning away so your dog can’t see you eat.

You can also glare at them when you say “No Begging”. Keep eating and glare at them until they turn their head and eyes away. After a few moments of not looking at you while you eat, tell them “Good dog” and give them a treat. Use the glaring method only with dogs who are not going to take your glaring as a challenge. Most dogs will submit and turn away when you glare at them, but some dogs will become agitated. If your dog shows any signs of agitation, do not use this method. Signs of agitation include growling, the hairs on the back of their neck go up, they refuse to look away, and/or they hunch down in such a way that it looks like they are about to lunge at you (different than a cowering hunch).

Teaching your dog not to beg has two major benefits.  First, mealtimes will be much more relaxing when your dog isn’t staring at you, pawing you, or giving you sad puppy-eyes.  Your friends will be amazed at your dog’s good manners.  Also, by teaching your dog not to beg, you are establishing your leadership without using unnecessary force.  Overall training and behavior modifications are easier when your dog sees you as the leader of the pack.

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11 Responses to “Teaching Your Dog Not to Beg While You Are Eating”

  1. Cute Things Dogs Do – Part IV – Begging for Treats « American Dog Blog Says:

    […] – not so cute.  (To teach your dogs not to beg while you are eating visit this post – No Begging) Advertisement LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "0"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  2. Wordless Wednesday and No Begging Dogs « American Dog Blog Says:

    […] Sephi and Maya are being good girls during mealtime. Teach your dog not to beg from our post at https://americandogblog.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/teaching-your-dog-not-to-beg-while-you-are-eating/. […]

  3. Top Posts Since American Dog Blog Began in September 2009 « American Dog Blog Says:

    […] #5 – Dog Breed Feature – The American Staffordshire Terrier (Pit Bull) in November 2010. #6 – Teaching Your Dog Not to Beg While You Are Eating in June 2010. #7 – Cute Dog Photo – Why is This Dog Eating Snow? in January 2010. #8 – New […]

  4. Jack Heart Says:

    Thanks for this post! My puppy is the worst when it comes to begging for food at dinner time. It is so hard to say no to those eyes, it’s killing me! There is some great advice here, thanks for sharing.

  5. LightningVoltage Says:

    My dog is probably the worst when it come to begging for food. she follows you around. If you turn away from her, she moves so you can. She breaths heavy on your legs.

  6. CMarie Says:

    My boyfriend’s dad’s dog is older and is used to getting a bit of everyone’s food. It’s to the point where he will bark at his dad (who feeds him the most) as if commanding him. I know he’s just a dog, but it drives me nuts. I was raised to only give dogs dropped food or leftovers.

    I feel bad when I am the only one telling their dog no, but he already knows not to beg to me. It’s easy to retrain a dog, but it’s harder to retrain the habits of the owner. My boyfriend has been trying though, haha. He will tell the dog no then end up giving him some anyway. It’s so counter-productive! >.<

    • Nature by Dawn Says:

      Sounds like your this dog really has his owner trained! I think it would really drive me nuts too. You’re right about retaining the habits of other owners. My stepdad constantly feeds his dog from his plate. The dog is so fat now and I worry for her health. But there is nothing I can tell my stepdad to convince him he’s probably doing more harm than good.

  7. Bethany Says:

    This was very helpful and seems to be working, thank you!

  8. Sarah nivison Says:

    I have an adhd pit bull, he will not listen n my boyfriends father keeps breaking his routine, he alows my dog to beg n jump up on counter tops, and then I have to them spray my dog with water or smack his butt with a slipper

    • Nature by Dawn Says:

      Routine is important. If your boyfriend’s father is a regular part of your dog’s life, then you’re out of luck. You can’t expect to train your dog if everyone who regularly interacts with the dog isn’t on the same page. Sorry, I have no help for you here. 😦

  9. Claudia Says:

    Owners need to keep in mind that while they think staring and invading personal space is cute. It’s NOT for your visitors who mysteriously never invite you over to their place with your dogs. Put them away while eating.

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