It’s been a long day and you’re sitting down to enjoy a nice meal, and you feel someone staring at you. You may even hear some soft whimpering. It’s the dog. We all know this feeling, and the urge to give in to those adorable puppy dog eyes. If your dog is driving you crazy with his begging for food, there are some things you can do to correct this behaviour.
- Make a promise to yourself. We know it’s hard to say “no” to the adorable faces of our furry friends, but it’s important to be consistent in a decision to not encourage this behaviour. Even if you only give in once in a while, you’re teaching your dog that begging works, and he will remember.
- Avoid eye contact. Puppy dog eyes only work if you look at them, so avoid the temptation by ignoring your dog while he begs. Try not to look at him, speak to him, or even shoo him away. Any attention will encourage him to continue. Instead, ignore your dog while you’re eating, so he gets the message that this is your time.
- Prevent the behaviour with boundaries and distractions. You may wish to keep your dog in another room while you’re enjoying a meal. Teach your dog to stay in another room while you eat, or use a barrier or baby gate to help send the message if he’s refusing to stay put. Another strategy is to redirect your dog’s attention and by keeping him busy with something else while you’re eating. Encourage your dog to enjoy his favourite chew toy or treat during meal time.
Teaching your dog not to beg will take time and patience, but as long as you’re consistent, he’ll get the message. Bon Appétit!