Stop Dog Begging: How to put a stop to your dog’s constant begging
Dogs are arch manipulators who are particularly adept at getting what they want. They are masters of the pitiful look, the sorrowful sigh, and that, oh so cute, the trick where they sit up and paw the air. I was a sucker for that one, for years!
But even if you’ve never indulged your dog, begging is a learned behavior that can be very hard to break. You’ll need to set some ground rules, show the dog that his behavior is not acceptable, and then follow through…consistently.
Stop Dog Begging: Why Dogs Beg
Begging is not normal canine behavior. You will never see a wolf, in the wild, begging. Rather, it is a behavior that your dog has learned. And as with most dogs the behavior, it is repeated because there is a pay-off. Now, you may be thinking that you’ve never given into your dog’s begging, but the payoff may be the attention you give him when he begs.
Or you may have given him a dog biscuit one time when you felt bad about scolding him for begging. He’ll remember that, and hope for another treat sometimes – dogs are infinitely patient.
Stop Dog Begging Before it Starts
The easiest way to stop dog begging is to never let it start in the first place. Of course, that’s often easier said
than done, but if you want to prevent your dog from begging you need to show him that there is no reward for the behavior.
Never give attention to the dog when he begs – not even negative attention. Food may be his primary objective for begging, but he’ll settle for some shouting, and maybe later a biscuit when you’re feeling guilty. If you find you’re a sucker for a cute canine face you may also want to create boundaries, for example, not allowing the dog into the kitchen, or into the dining area at meal-times.
Stop Dog Begging: Dealing With a Seasoned Canine Beggar
If your dog has already picked up the begging habit, it is difficult to break. Start by cutting off the reward system. For example, if you’re feeding him from the table, cut it out immediately.
Also, keep him away from food preparation areas, and from dining areas at meal-times. This is easily taught, but if you have a stubborn dog who persists in hanging around the table, a dog gate does the job just as well. Be firm in giving commands, but never become angry and yell at the dog. This attention may act as its own reward.
Consistency is key. You’ll never train a dog to do anything if you apply the rules today, and are lax with them tomorrow. Begging is a tricky problem to deal with. It is just human nature to help out if we possibly can, and when it’s your cute, friendly dog doing the asking, it’s hard to say no.
But he warned, even a few table scraps, given to the dog in a moment of weakness, will set the pattern and then you have a begging dog on your hands. Set boundaries and stick to the ground rules with patience and consistency and you have a chance to stop dog begging.