Does your dog follow you around the house 10x more than usual when you have a plate of food in your hand? Are they constantly begging you for your food while their dog bowl is full of their own food? Are you finding that they are either whining or barking but won’t stop until you feed them? By the end of this article, you will know how to get a dog to stop begging for your food.
Lets’ face it, dogs are basically our broke 4-legged best friends that are always hungry.
If your dog is anything like mine were when I first adopted them, you’ll find yourself hiding in the towel closet just so you can eat your food in peace without feeling guilty about it.
Fortunately, this bad habit is one that dogs can learn to drop with a little bit of consistency on your part, some elbow grease, and a dog that is even partially able to follow simple commands.
I have been living with dogs my entire life and have been a CPDT-KA certified dog trainer for over 5 years now. I have begun to realize that when training a dog, their ability to follow instructions and the length of time it takes to break a bad habit almost solely depends on the consistency of their owners.
“A dog that learns a new skill very fast is usually the result of a dog owner that chooses not to give up easily on training their dog.”
Before you learn exactly how to train your dog to stop begging for food you must understand what are some of the reasons why they are even begging to begin with. This is essential because this is the root of the problem at hand.
Why do dogs beg for food?
There are a number of reasons as to why your dog may be begging you for food. Do the reasons make sense to us as humans? Hmm… debatable. But at least it makes sense to your dog as to why they’re begging for it.
The reasons may include, but are not limited to:
#1 – Your dog is greedy!
If you think this is the only reason that your dog is begging, then chances are you’re correct. Dogs are like goldfish. They will just keep eating and eating if they have access to food all throughout the day. As a dog owner, it is best to come up with a schedule that you feed your dog at those times ONLY!
#2 – Their food stinks!
It is not very hard to tell when a dog dislikes the food options that they are being presented with. To tell when your dog doesn’t like the food you’ve given them you will notice that they just sniff the food once or twice then walk away, maybe they’ll lick the food but never actually swallow it, or they will just be completely disinterested in the dog bowl.
Having meat-based dog food is usually a choice that 9 out of 10 dogs will love. In my opinion, you can’t really go wrong by feeding your dog Blue Buffalo High Protein Dry Dog Food (link to Amazon). This dry food can contain either bison, rabbit, or red meat. Which are all high-source protein foods your dog will enjoy.
#3 – Your food smells better than theirs.
Dogs are highly sensitive to smell. They use their nose for everything. When they need to go potty, they sniff for the perfect spot, farm dogs use their noses to find rodents, and police officers use dogs to help them sniff out substances or paraphernalia.
When your food is highly potent and contains either curry, garlic, onion etc. Your dog is guaranteed to make note of the odor and begin seeking your attention for their piece of the pie. (Literally)
Its needless to say that dogs are very “give me, give me” creatures. There is never enough food you can feed them, even with all the food in the world your dog will still want whatever is on your plate.
Most times, dogs are never even really hungry. They just want the food on your plate, even if the food on your plate is their dog food. There are many psychological hacks that you can use on your dog if you’re finding that they won’t eat their dry food.
Now that you know the reasons exactly why your dog is begging for food constantly, here’s what you need to do to get them to stop.
How To Get Your Dog To Stop Begging For Your Food
Remember, training takes time and consistency is key when it comes to getting your dog to conform to your wants and needs. You need to be very disciplined in order for these methods to work according to plan.
Outlined below are the methods you can apply to successfully get your dog to stop begging you for your food.
Method #1 – I can’t hear you (Ignore Method)
The ignore method simply states that you need to give your dog absolutely zero attention when you’re eating your food. You should have a Zero Tolerance policy in place that you need to abide by when you see that your dog is giving you the “feed me” eyes.
On average, dogs are usually able to figure out that you want to be left alone after about 3-6 weeks of implementing the ignore method.
Some dogs get a clue sooner than others and some dogs will take twice as long before they realize that you’re purposely ignoring them.
No matter how much your dog whines, put their paws on you to get your attention, or start barking as a form to demand food from you, you must IGNORE THEM. From the time you pick up your plate to the time you’re done eating your food, you need to pretend that you do not even own a dog.
Some dog owners find this method cruel to dogs because they may seem like they are truly hungry for food but, if their dog bowl has food in it then that should imply to you that they’re probably not as hungry as you think they are.
Don’t worry, you are not going to hurt your dogs’ feelings or scar them mentally, they’ll forget about it as soon as the food is out of sight and out of mind.
Eventually, your dog will learn that when they see you eating is time for them to go and seek entertainment elsewhere.
This method takes practice and you must be dedicated to using the ignore method. Even the slightest bit of attention that you give your dog will give them the inspiration to continue begging and whining until you feed them.
Even the slightest glance that you give a dog can ruin all the hard work and consistency you have put in.
Method #2 – Kennel/Crate Method
For this method to work and be effective your dog will need to be crate trained and understand what you are meaning when you demand them to go to their kennel.
“Dogs cannot communicate with humans the same way they communicate with other dogs. You must learn to be an effective communicator to your dog via command training exercises.”
A suitable kennel/crate is an essential learning device that dog owners can use when training their dogs. I recommend just going with the standard double door caged crate (link to Amazon) as this will provide the least amount of noise or interference in attempting to convey the message that your dog has displayed bad behavior that you found unsuitable or inappropriate.
Their crate is intended to act as your dog’s penalty box. They should understand that their crate is somewhere they should not want to be. Dog owners should also understand that a dog’s crate should not take the place of their dog bed.
There is a previously written article here that teaches you how to crate train your dog if they aren’t already. It’s a good read if your dog is not yet fully crate trained. I suggest that you check this article out before you begin attempting the Kennel/Crate method.
This method works by simply commanding that your dog goes to their crate or kennel right before their begging is even given the opportunity to even begin. Preventing your dog from begging will essentially work better than trying to train them to stop begging.
After staying committed to this ritual, your dog will learn to go directly into their crate when it seems as if you are going to sit down to the dinner table. After about a few weeks of repeating this, you may not even need to signal to your dog at all.
Method #3 – Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement involves giving your dog either a treat, their favorite toy, or a belly rub when they follow your instruction or begin learning a command that you have recently taught them. This is simply an incentive to encourage your dog to continue their acts of good behavior.
I know, this may sound a bit counterintuitive but first, let me explain.
Dogs will form good habits in two ways:
#1 – Repetitive Training – Repeating a process over and over until the action is learned.
#2 – Positive Reinforcement – Rewarding them because they performed exactly how you needed them to.
The way this method works is by first giving your dog a chore or command that they should follow when you are going to eat your food. This method is similar to method #2’s crate method because you will need to send them to their crate and after following your directions you should give them a treat.
The dog treat will also get your dog to realize that they should be eating dog food and dog treats only. Make them understand that human food is absolutely off-limits. Anything from the dinner table is not allowed.
Utilizing training treats (link to Amazon) play an important role in training your dog to stop begging you for your food.
Some dogs unfortunately carry very short attention spans. You will notice after giving them the command to get into their crate and a few minutes later they may forget and end up walking out again.
Teach repetitive action along with positive reinforcement – Every time your dog does this, make them take some steps back into their crates, and while in the crate it is okay for you to reward them using the training treats.
Be very careful when using this method because sometimes there is a miscommunication between the dog owner and the dog. The dog may think that whenever he/she walks into their crate that they deserve a treat.
You should try to communicate the correct message to your dog as best as you possibly can by letting them know they’re not getting treats for going inside their creates but rather, they’re getting the treat for entering the crate on your command or when you are about to sit down to enjoy a meal without being disturbed.
If you don’t have a dog but want to get one, here’s a tip that will save you a ton of time. You need to stop the problem before it starts. It is better to prevent your dog from being near you when you eat so they don’t pick up the trait than teaching them to break the bad habit later in their lives.
What NOT to do when teaching your dog to stop begging for your food.
#1 You should not yell, scream, or shout at your dog. Not only is this practice abusive to your dog, it also does nothing positive towards training them. If you shout, scream, or yell at your dog for begging for food from you then this will only confuse them. They have no idea what the outburst was about and neither did they know that they were doing something wrong.
#2 Don’t tease them with your food. By doing this, you will be gathering your dog’s attention way more and they will sit, stare, and scratch at you until you feed them. You would think after a while of doing this that your dog will get a clue to leave you alone, but dogs are relentless creatures. The teasing of food will only inspire them to continue to beg you even more.
#3 Physical abuse is OFF LIMITS!
#4 Never give them your food occasionally. The methods I explained above only work if you want to make it work. You can’t say things like “just this one time” or “here you go now leave me alone”. All these things feed your dog’s inner beliefs that the more they beg, the higher the chances are of receiving food off of your plate.
#5 Nope, not even the leftovers! Feeding your dog your leftover will not play out well either. They’re just going to give you the “feed me” eyes the whole time you’re eating and will be burning with anticipation for you to be done eating so that you can give them your scraps.
Remember, consistency is key. The usual range to train your dog to stop begging takes around 3 to 6 weeks. This is usually enough time to break most “bad dog” habits and behaviors.
There are many different techniques that you can use to train you dog to stop begging for food and there are many different strategies that can work as well. If it works out for you and your dog, give it a try.
Also, drop your favorite strategies down below in the comments and let us know which method you prefer to use.
I hope that this article has been both informative and enlightening to you and you were able to gather some ideas of your own that will get your greedy four-legged broke best friend to leave you alone to eat in peace.
Here are some recommended articles that should help you along your dog training journey smoothly!