Stop Dog From Begging for Food

by Denise Keef
(Oglesby IL)

My dog constantly begs everyone for food and I know I started this bad behavior and I need to figure out how to get my dog to stop begging me for my food.

Editor Suggestion: How to Stop a Dog Begging For Food

Hi Denise,

I'm happy to help with this situation! The behavior you're seeing in your dog is a learned one, and it stems from the fact that begging for food has been rewarded in the past. As a pet behaviorist, I recommend you to apply a behavior modification strategy called "Extinction". This approach involves no longer providing the reward (in this case, food) when your dog begs.

Here is a step-by-step plan to address this behavior:

Stop giving food: This is the first and most crucial step. Ensure that all family members and guests understand this rule. Anytime your dog is given food while begging, it reinforces the behavior.

Ignore begging behavior: Completely ignore your dog when they're begging. This means no eye contact, no touching, and no speaking. Any attention can be interpreted as a reward.

Consistency is key: Everyone in the household must apply these rules consistently. If one person gives in and feeds the dog, it will set back your progress.

Create a "quiet" command: This can be a word or a signal. Start training your dog with this command when they are calm and not
begging. Reward them with treats or petting when they respond correctly. Once they've learned it, start using it when they beg.

Distract and redirect: Whenever your dog starts begging, redirect their attention to something else. This could be a toy, a command they know well (like 'sit' or 'stay'), or a different activity.

Provide meals and snacks on a schedule: Feed your dog at regular times each day. This can help them understand when to expect food and reduce begging at other times.

Reward good behavior: Whenever your dog behaves well during your meal times (like lying quietly), give them a reward. This could be verbal praise, a pat, or a treat after you've finished eating.

Remember, it's crucial to be patient during this process. Changing a behavior that's been reinforced over a long period of time takes time. It might even get worse before it gets better - this is known as an "extinction burst". It means the old behavior is starting to fade away. Just stick with it and eventually, you should see a change.

Lastly, if the begging behavior persists or escalates, consider seeking help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to provide personalized advice. They can also rule out if your dog's excessive begging could be due to an underlying medical issue, such as hunger caused by malabsorption or certain diseases.


Editor and Publisher
Dog Health Guide

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