If your dog has started barking to let you know that he wants to be fed, you likely want to learn how to stop it.
Demand barking for food can be relentless and frustrating, your dog may bark every time you sit down to eat your breakfast, open the fridge, or open the cupboard containing his food.
There are many ways to stop this behavior and it is best to try to correct this behavior as soon as it arises before it gets any worse. Your dog may have learned to bark for his food because as a puppy he used to bark excitedly when you sat at the table to eat your own food.
To make him stop barking, you threw him something from your plate because it was the easiest thing to do. This developed into a habit of barking for food. Now your dog has developed this bad habit, it is time to break it.
Keep reading to find out how to stop demand barking for food.
1. Positive reinforcement
Step 1 – Identify the trigger
Before you begin to teach your dog to behave differently, you need to figure out exactly when your dog starts to demand bark.
Is it when you sit down at the dinner table, when you sit on the couch and enjoy a snack, or just before you are about to feed him his dinner?
Once you have identified the trigger, it will be much easier to resolve.
In order to train your dog, you will need some treats as a reward when he stops barking, and a quiet place where there are no distractions. It will be easier to train him when you have realized where and at what time of the day he begins to demand bark.
Step 2 – Use a positive word
The first thing to do is to identify a positive word to use as a reward when your dog behaves well.
Every time you use the word, give your dog a treat so that he associates positively with the word. He will soon know that that word is a positive one.
Step 3 – Ignore him
When he does start to bark and demand food, turn the other way and do your best to completely ignore his behavior.
As soon as he starts to calm down and stops barking, use the reward word, and give him a treat. Make sure to do this each time, even if he only stops barking for a short amount of time.
Repeat this process every day for a few days.
Step 4 – Reward good behavior
Once he has begun to learn the reward word for not barking, introduce a command word such as the word “stop” or “quiet” when he is barking.
Say the word calmly and avoid shouting at your dog.
If he stops barking, say the command word immediately and give him a treat. Continue to repeat this process and reward him each time he behaves well.
Step 5 – Reverse the process
Try reversing the process by increasing the time he needs to wait silently until he gets a treat. This will teach him that he needs to be quiet when there is food around.
Continue to repeat the training a few times every day until your dog starts to get the hang of it.
It is going to take time and patience but it will be worth it when your dog stops demand barking any time that there is food around.
2. Ignore bad behavior
Another method is to sit at the table with your food at the normal time. Let your dog bark as he normally does. Avoid giving him food or shouting at him and instead completely ignore him.
Step 1 – Ignore barking
No matter how much your dog barks continue to ignore him and focus on eating your meal instead. Continue to converse with others at the table too. When your dog eventually becomes tired or barking and calms down, use a command word such as “quiet” and give him a treat.
Step 2 – Be consistent
It is important to be consistent with this method. Each time he barks at you, turn away from him and ignore him until his barking ceases.
Once he stops barking turn around and give him a treat. This method likely requires more patience, but continue to work with it and he will begin to learn how you expect him to behave.
It is important to remain calm and persistent when you are training your dog to stop demand barking. It is important to be consistent and to avoid giving up when it seems like it is not working.
It is going to take time to break the habit that your dog has developed. However, the time and patience that you put in now will be worth it when you can enjoy your meals without your dog barking.
Remember to reward your dog for good behavior rather than shouting at him for bad behavior.