Dog Begging….I Beg to Differ

Dog begging for food is one of the most common discipline issues that dog owners face. An unfortunate side effect of loving our dogs so much is that we would like to give them everything that they want. In the end we have created something we can not maintain when whining and incessant barking at dinner time turns to annoyance and embarrassment. How do we reverse it?

Fortunately, with a little willpower and discipline on your part, begging can be one of the easiest behaviors to correct. Follow these simple tips to turn your hairy panhandler into a productive member of society once more!

The obvious place to start is to stop giving food to a dog that is begging. When your pup stars at you with those wide eyes and makes that high pitched whine that shoots right to the bone, it takes all the resolve one can muster to withstand the trance. Your dog knows what works and if you break under the pressure, it will only strengthen your dogs will to use the behavior again and again. Giving food is a form of affection, and giving affection reinforces the behavior preceding it. Your dog has learned that if he begs, he gets food! Take a stand and start a new trend. Find the willpower to withhold that food, and your dog will learn that he can’t expect rewards for begging behavior.

Secondly, it is imperative to ignore a begging dog. Begging is an attention-seeking behavior. Rather than give in to your dog’s demands, ignore the behavior and teach your dog that it does not get results in this house! When you talk to your dog, give him affection, or engage in direct eye contact, which feeds his mental state. Do not entertain him in this way. Instead, practice no touch, no talk, no eye contact.

Resist the urge to feel sorry for the dog. He is well-fed. You should know; you feed him! He is not in danger of going hungry if you don’t give him that scrap off the table. On the contrary, many dogs are in danger of various health issues and become over weight due to the table food they are fed between meals. So, don’t let him persuade you with that pitiful stare and brushing paw on your leg. You are doing what is best for your pup by feeding him the food that is formulated specially for his health.

Be consistent in discipline. In any kind of training, consistency is the key to success. For your dog to learn that his begging behavior is ineffective, it has to be ineffective 100% of the time. Inconsistent enforcement of the rules leads to an inconsistently obedient dog! Make sure that every pack leader in the household understands and enforces the same rules in this area and any other.

Lastly, be patient and don’t give up on the process. If you have followed these tips and your dog still continues to beg, don’t throw in the towel just yet. Ask yourself, am I using the discipline techniques above consistently? If you are then it will not be long before your dog waves the white flag and you can enjoy your meals in peace for the rest of your days.

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