Scenerio 1: You and your family sit down at the table to eat dinner. Your normally well behaved pooch is under the table nuzzling everyone or sitting at the corner of the table whining and begging.
Scenerio 2: You can ALWAYS make your dog come to you by:
1. rattling a bag of chips,
2: opening the refrigerator.
If either of these scenerios fit your dog, you DO NOT have a dog behavior problem. This is a PEOPLE behavior problem.
Dogs learn to beg (and it is a learned behavior) because they are rewarded for their behavior. It is a TRICK they learn very quickly.
Sound silly? – Think about it.
One of the quickest ways to teach a dog a trick is to wait for him to do the desired behavior, and then reward him for it. The “trick” is staring you down and whining at the appropriate time, when food is available. The reward, well, we all know is the treat he gets, and there’s nothing tastier that “people food.”
The fact is, most dogs that eat a given amount of people food become obese, less mobile and die younger, the ultimate result of a trick well learned.
Correcting the behavior is really not that difficult if EVERYONE agrees to abide by the rules.
Place a mat or bed away from the table but within your view. Your pet can watch you eat from a distance.
Teach your dog the “down” and “stay” commands and reinforce this “new trick” regularly throughout the day. You can then teach him the “place” command by showing him that “place” means to go to that spot and “down” “stay.” After a while, the “place” command is all you will need.
At meal time, give the “place” command and reinforce it with praise. Don’t scold or correct your dog for getting confused. Remember that the begging was a trick you taught him. If the dog comes to the table, give a firm “NO” and a kind reinforcement of the “place” command.
After you finish eating, release him and feed your dog his regular kibble, away from the table, in his regular bowl. Why feed him last?; Because in pack behavior, the leaders eat first. By eating before your dog eats, you are telling him that YOU are the master.
It should only take a few days for the behavior to be corrected, but remember, EVERYONE must agree and stick to the training. Visitors must also be told not to feed the dog. All it takes is one person to sneak food under the table, and all your work is undone.