Begging in dogs is a learned behavior. If trained properly, a dog will not beg at all since she knows it will bring no result.
Dog begging may take different forms and have varying degrees of "severity".
Your dog may just sit next to you every time you eat. She may give you that pitiful look so that you find it hard not to give her half of your steak. If your dog is really aggressive, she may paw to get your attention, whine or bark incessantly, or even jump on your lap.
Since begging is a learned behavior, the best way to deal with it is not to let it happen in the first place. A non-begging dog is less likely to annoy people, which means you and your dog will have a better and more loving and trusting relationship.
But what if your dog has already "acquired" the behavior of begging? Here are some simple ways you may want to try.
If your dog has the habit of begging for food while you are dining, try these methods:
You may want to put your dog in another room and keep her happily occupied, e.g. give her a bone to chew or a toy to play with. Make your dinner time a fun time for your dog as well.
Dogs are less likely to beg if they have a full stomach. Feeding your dog immediately before you and your family have dinner may stop her from begging.
Sometimes dogs beg for more food because they are not getting enough nutrients they need from their food, which can make them feel hungry all the time.
If you have not already done so, switch your dog's diet to a natural one.
Many dog parents say that their dogs tend to beg less after the switch because they are getting all the proteins and enzymes they need from their food. You may also want to give your dog a supplement of digestive enzymes to help with digestion so that your dog can get all the vitamins and minerals needed.
If you want to feed your dog some leftover foods from your dinner, it is nothing wrong provided of course that the foods are nutritional for the dog.
However, do not hand feed the foods to your dog from the dining table. Save the foods and put them in your dog's bowl after you have finished dinner. That way, your dog will come to realize that she will have her share of goodies after you have had your dinner and will not beg while you are enjoying your dinner.
It is very important that every family member follows the "no-begging no-feeding-from-the-table" rule. Dogs need consistency to understand what they can or cannot do. Inconsistency gives your dog mixed signals and she may think that there is a chance she will get food if she begs more!
Alternatively, she will target the "softie" in the family and keep bothering that one person!
If your non-begging dog suddenly starts begging and looks hungry all the time, her begging may be due to a health problem.
Some problems such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism can make a dog ravenously hungry even immediately after feeding. Therefore, pay attention to any sudden behavioral change and look for other illness symptoms such as sudden change in weight.
If you suspect anything unusual, consult with your vet.
To stop your dog from begging for attention, simply ignore her totally. This means that no matter what your dog does to try to get your attention, do not stop what you are doing. Do not speak to her, make eye contact with her or touch her in any way.
It may sound cruel to some dog parents because we tend to give in when our dogs come to us with their tails wagging, begging us to play with them.
However, if we ignore them several times, most dogs will learn that begging for attention is not an effective way to get it and they will eventually stop begging. Again, consistency is very important.
It is also important to give your dog some quality time every day. Set aside some time every day to just play with your dog, take her out for walks, or give her a nice massage or brushing.
Remember, do not punish your dog for begging. Punishment teaches a dog nothing except how to avoid being punished. A much better way is to be firm, consistent, and fair.