We’ve all had this problem before. Your dog gets a whiff of some tasty human food, and now they’re glued next to the table at dinner time. Whether their begging is cute or not, the table scraps your dog wants are often unhealthy and possibly dangerous for them to eat.
Here’s how you can protect your dog from dangerous people food and get them to quit begging once and for all (even if it’s adorable).
# 1 – Don’t Ever Give Your Dog “Table Scraps”…Period.
The best way to stop your dog from begging is to never give them a reason to beg in the first place. Any time you feed your dog from the table, couch, counter, or wherever you prepare and eat your meals, you increase the likelihood of begging in the future. If you don’t ever feed them scraps from your plate, they’re less likely to think they can beg for food at all.
If your dog has started begging regardless of being fed from the table, the best thing to do is ignore them. It may seem cold or mean, but if you give your dog attention then you’re reinforcing the begging behavior. Moreover, if you continuously give in to their begging, they see the food as a reward for the behavior you don’t want.
The better option is to just ignore them, and realize that it’s better for you and your dog to not give in. Eventually, your dog will understand that the cold shoulder means no food and no attention. Then they will quit begging.
But, what should you do with the leftovers?
#2 Feed Your Dog Leftovers In Their Bowl – NOT Off Your Plate
Feeding table scraps in your dog’s bowl teaches them that this is part of their dinner, not a treat from your dinner table. While you’re at it, you can make them work for their dinner by asking for a sit, a down, or a leave it before you put the table scraps in their bowl. This way you can feel better about not giving into their begging, and instead encourage the behaviors that you DO want.
However, you should always avoid greasy foods when feeding your dog leftovers, because they can cause pancreatitis in dogs. Pancreatitis causes severe pain in dogs, and can even lead to death. You’re looking at a vet visit at least, and possibly hospitalization. Save yourself the worry and the cost, and only feed your dog human food you are sure they can handle.
Check our diet sheet for human foods that are safe to share from your dinner plate.
#3 Don’t Feed Your Dog At Or Near The Table EVER
Whether it’s human food, dog food, or treats, don’t feed your dog from or near the table. This is a sure-fire way to get your dog to begin associating the table with their dinner instead of just yours.
This can be a bit hard if you have toddlers or young kids that are throwing food all over the place while they eat. Your dog will swoop in to pick up any stray food and it’s hard to beat them to every piece. Instead, have your dog wait in another room, or outside, while you eat to prevent this.
Table scrap feeding is known to cause obesity, diabetes, and even death with certain foods. We cannot stress enough, unless you’re absolutely certain that what you’re feeding your dog is healthy for them, then it’s best to not risk it.
If you have questions about table scraps or have a dog that just won’t stop begging no matter what you do, then contact us today, our experienced staff and trainers can assist you with any of your diet, behaviour, and nutrition issues you may be having.
Begging Dogs by Soren Oxenhave
Begging for Food by Andy Blackledge