We’ve all done it—give in to those sad puppy eyes—at one time or another. Feeding our dogs scraps from the table not only demonstrates our lack of self control, it can be harmful to our dog’s health. How do you refuse your dog that little piece of bacon that fell off your BLT? You may think you’re showing your dog kindness by giving up that coveted morsel, but is it doing your dog more harm than good?
Your Kindness Could Be Hurting Your Dog
A few months ago we did a post giving 5 tips on ways to keep your dog safe during Thanksgiving. Number one on our list was “Don’t feed your dog table scraps.” The reason why this was number one is because the fat shavings and the turkey scraps could lead to a very serious disease called Pancreatitis. This is an inflammation of the pancreas, and can be fatal.
Even if your dog doesn’t develop this serious disease, the extra snacks are not going to help his weight problem. More than half of American dogs are either overweight or obese, and giving in to his begging isn’t going to make them lose any weight—in fact it will do the opposite. Even if your dog isn’t currently overweight, as he gets older, you don’t want to have him in the habit of begging for treats when he does struggle with weight gain.
Why Does My Dog Beg?
The reason why your dog is begging to begin with is because he knows he’s going to get a handout. If he never got anything that originated from the kitchen table, he wouldn’t sit there expectantly, using all his puppy charm. He knows that when he has begged previously, he has been rewarded for it, so he will continue begging—unless there is no reward.
How Can I Stop Dog Begging?
To get your dog to stop begging at the table, you simply stop the flow of reward. Ignore your dog’s behavior when he’s begging, and he will stop the behavior. However, this is easier said than done; it’s hard to resist those sad brown eyes! Unless you have an iron will, here’s some suggestions that will help stop your puppy from begging at the dinner table:
- One of the best ways to stop dog begging is to train an incompatible behavior. For instance, teach your dog to sit or lay down outside the kitchen while you’re eating dinner. He can’t beg and lay down at the same time. Afterwards, feel free to reward his patience with a healthy treat. He is eventually getting what he wants, just under your terms.
- Take your dog on a walk before dinner. A regular exercise routine will help—he might just lay down to rest instead of looking expectantly for food.
- Try feeding him beforehand.
- Freeze his kibbles in chicken broth, and give this to him to ponder over while you eat your meal. This delaying tactic will not only keep him interested, but will keep him from scarfing down his dinner as well.
- Another delaying tactic is to hide a couple Kongs in a different room. Be creative with your stuffing ideas, and use foods such as peanut butter that will last a while. He’ll be too busy playing with his Kong to worry about the chicken cordon bleu smells wafting from the dining room.
- If worse comes to worse, you can always crate your dog when it’s mealtime.
…I hope this was helpful for you in keeping your dog from begging at the dinner table. Let us know if these tips worked for you!