You know the drill—you've spent all day cooking a marvelous feast and set an elaborate table to celebrate with some of your favorite people, only to find your guests unable to settle down and have a good time because your pooch won't stop begging from person to person. If this sounds like your last holiday meal, you're in luck—we've got the essential guide to train the beggar out of your pup.
Willpower of Steel
The first step to training your dog not to beg is to never give them food from the table. Sounds simple, right? Not so much. If you've been around a dog during dinnertime, you'll know that these guys are masters of emotional manipulation. Sad eyes? Check. Pouty lips? Check. Deep sigh? Check. Strengthen your resolve and no matter how miserable your pooch looks, don't give them scraps off the table. By giving them food, you're rewarding their bad behavior and they'll know that next time, begging = getting their way. Remember, you're the alpha and you feed them well—they're not starving for food and don't need any of your meal (after all, it's not like they're offering you any of their doggy food when they eat!).
Ignoring It Will Make It Go Away
We know this doesn't work with most things in life, but thankfully, it works with dogs! Next time the pup is begging, completely ignore them. Don't look at her, don't call her name, don't even touch her to get her head off your lap. Eventually, your dog will learn that you're far more determined than she is and go find something more interesting than your stubbornness.
Synchronized Meal Time
An easy, straightforward way to redirect your dog's attention during your meal is to feed him at the same time you eat. If he's busy chomping down on his own food, your pooch won't be curious about what you're eating.
Fatigue Beats Curiosity
Try taking your pup for her longest walk of the day right before dinnertime—that way, with the extra energy exhausted and a full meal in her belly (if you synchronize your meals), she'll be too tired and comfortable to give even a second thought to your dinner. Tired dogs are good dogs, and tired dogs with full bellies will snooze right through your dinner.
Remember, it takes time and patience to train good behavior into your dog, and even more time to train bad behavior out. Take your time, be diligent, and eventually, your pup will be a beggar no more!