My dog, Jade, is a begger! Where ever there's food, you see Jade, nudging his head up against your knees while you're eating at the table, or sitting beside you on the couch wondering when you're going to drop your sandwich. I've tried telling him to go lay down, it works for 10 seconds. I've told him no firmly while pointing my finger for him to leave. He just walks in a circle around the coffee table making me believe as if he was gone for more than 5 seconds. It drives me insane especially when I have company over. I had a meeting with a woman at my house, I offered her some coffee cake. We sat down for a chat in my living room. She put down her cake so she could sip her tea, Jade pops up from beneath the couch and devours it all up. I guess I was too busy to notice he was even there. I felt like an idiot...at least she laughed about it.
Any ideas on what I can do? He loves food, he even begs me for my gum when I am chewing it. Crazy! He's an all around terrific boy but when it comes to food, watch out! Thanks for any suggestions.
Dogs are beggers because their owners make them beggers, in my experience. Maybe it annoys you now, but was there ever a time when you (or anyone in yoru family) gave your dog food at the table? Shared your food with him at all? You rewarded his begging then, and he expects you to reward him every time he begs now. Stealing the food and getting to eat it was also a reward, one he was willing to risk punishment for (I'd have dove down his throat for the cake personally while he was chewing it). Not only that, by talking to him and giving him attentiion when he begs, that is a reward in and of itself for some dogs. I'd be absolutely mortified if my dog ate food belonging to a guest.
You are going to have to start at square one and everyone in the family has to be on board. If I were you, here is what I'd do. First I'd get a water bottle and keep it handy for any time I'm eating. You and your family eat, you need to totally ignore him. I mean, if he jumps on your lap under the table or what not, knee him or nudge him away with your feet but do not speak to him. If he's standing there staring at you with the silent begging, whining, dancing around hoping for someone to feed him, give him a squirt with the water bottle but don't speak again. Now he knows that the behavior has an unpleasant return. If you are sitting on the couch with food, keep the water bottle handy there too.
When guests come over, make sure that they understand that they are not under any circumstances to give your dog people food. You can also put him in a crate, so he has no opportunity to steal food because, again, the behavior is self rewarding.
Now if giving your dog the leftovers is part of the family tradition in your house (it is to some extent in ours) do not let your dog lick the plates or bowls or pots. Instead, scrape the food into your dogs dish... in fact if you have a desire to give your dog human food at all, always give it in your dog's dish. Don't give it to him from your hand either, because this way your dog will be looking to his dish for the tasty human food, and not to your plate or hands. So it also has the potential to reduce his begging.
It sounds like your dog's habits have been a long time in the making, so dont' expect instant rewards. But if you are consistent about not giving human food and the ignoring, you will get results.
Never trust a tall dwarf... he's lying about something.
It's unfortunate when dogs have bad manners. The reasons being WE haven't been trained in proper doggie etiquette. People have to earn for almost everything that they have.If you're one of the few who don't have to earn what you get, you end up like Paris Hilton.
So, you have to train yourself to make your dog earn the things in life that he really likes. On the top of his list, I'm betting that it's food. Rule No.1 Don't feed your dog before you feed yourself. Make him sit off to the side, maybe make him sit outside or in another room. Rule No.2 Make him sit or stay or lay for 5 min. before putting his food in front of him. When he sits or stays for a set amount of time, this is his way of earning his meal. Rule No. 3 Never make exceptions to the rule. If you eat or snack during the day, don't hand him anyhing without him earning it first. Rule No.3 I find that putting a dog on a feeding schedule makes a big difference. A dog that is allowed to eat once or twice a day is more disciplined than when there's a full bowl sitting around so they can eat all day. Their brain just tells them that it's fine to eat whenever or whatever they want. When your dog starts begging, right away remove him from your eating area. By shaking your finger and scolding him just re-enforces the bad behavior.
Most of all you have to be consistant. Every time you give in to those puppy dog eyes and give him something, you'll have to start again at square one.
This also applies to everything else your dog likes to do like walks, treat, and play. Make him sit or stayor lay before he is allowed to have.
Awesome. Thank you for the replies, they are extremely helpful.
Minniyar, I have never fed the dog at the table. But yes, I do grant him leftovers at the end of most of our meals. We eat our dinner, then Jade gets his with some leftovers mixed in. I've done this since we first got him. The bottled water suggestion is on my list, thanks for pointing that out. I'm starting it tonight.
luvmypuggle, it will most definitely be a challange but I'm willing to do anything.
pipat, those are some great tips. I've passed rule 4. He always eats after us, on a time schedule. Thanks a lot.