How to Train Your Dog to Not Beg

Easy
1-8 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Having a dog brings with it a world of joy. You have someone to cuddle with while you watch your favorite show and you finally have a member of the family who can’t argue back. But while having a dog is relaxing, for the most part, it isn’t so relaxing when they constantly pester and beg you for food whenever you sit down to tuck into a tasty meal. You just want some peace and quiet to enjoy every mouthful of that delicious snack, without the feeling of guilt you get when you look down at your endearing dog.

It’s all fun and games to start with, but you gave in too much at the beginning and now you can’t eat anything without sharing it with your canine friend. But enough is enough, you don’t want to share anymore and you don’t want guests being pestered for food by your dog either.

Defining Tasks

Fortunately, training your dog not to beg is relatively straightforward. It will involve obedience training so you can send your dog out of the room when you’re eating. It will also involve patience and some willpower not to give in to your doggie pal, no matter how cute they look. That means you will have to toe the party line with the rest of the family; it needs to be a group effort.

With a puppy, successful training can take just a couple of weeks, but with older dogs who have been begging for years, a few extra weeks may be needed to fully break the habit. But don’t be put off by the time it takes, it is more than worth it to have a well-behaved dog, who leaves you to relax with your food and doesn’t pester you or guests when you’re feasting.

Getting Started

Before you get to work with your dog, you will need a number of things. Get hold of some doggie treats or break their favorite food into small chunks. You will also need a quiet room, free from distractions.

Then get a leash and, perhaps most importantly of all, find all your resilience, a begging dog could charm the pants off even the iciest of souls.
Once you have all those things, set aside 10 minutes a day for the next few weeks and you’re ready to tackle your begging dog once and for all.

The Cold Shoulder Method

ribbon-method-1
Most Recommended
9 Votes
Cold Shoulder method for Not Beg
Step
1
Call a family meeting
You need to inform the whole household that no one under any circumstances is to feed the dog anymore, unless it is in their bowl. No matter where you are eating, you do not give any food to your dog when it begs, no matter how cute it looks or how loud it whines.
Step
2
Do not make eye contact
If you are sitting on the sofa snacking and your dog comes to beg, ignore him. That also means don’t look at him. Just by giving it eye contact you are telling it that sitting there will get your attention. If he starts to whine loudly and doesn’t give up, take him out of the room and shut the door.
Step
3
Keep your dog around when you're eating at the table
As soon as he starts begging, put him in his crate or use a leash to secure them to something near their bed until you have finished eating. Showing them they will be excluded if they beg will reinforce that begging is the wrong behavior.
Step
4
Do not talk or interact with your dog at all while you are eating
Whether you are at the table, on the sofa, or seated outside, do not engage in any way with your dog. Any physical or verbal interaction fuels their mental state. Only the coldest of shoulders will reinforce that this is the wrong sort of behavior.
Step
5
Be patient
Dogs are creatures of habit and they won’t transform overnight. Instead, you need to practice the cold shoulder all day, every day and sometimes for many weeks. Just be persistent and don’t feel guilty, eventually they will learn begging gets them nowhere and because they yearn for your attention, they will stop doing it.
Recommend training method?

The Go to Bed Method

ribbon-method-2
Effective
5 Votes
Go to Bed method for Not Beg
Step
1
Get some treats and take your dog into the room where their bed is
You are going to teach your dog a command that will send them to their bed or place. That way whenever your dog begs, you can quickly send them away and enjoy your food in peace.
Step
2
Stand close to their bed and say ‘BED’
As you say this, lure them onto their bed entirely, until all 4 feet are on their bed or mat.
Step
3
Reward your dog as soon as they fully enter their bed
The trick is to reward them within 3 seconds. Any longer and they won’t associate the command with the reward.
Step
4
Slowly increase the distance and time
After several successful attempts, slowly increase the distance you are from their bed when you instruct them to go there. Lure them with a treat each time if you need to and be sure to reward them every time. Practice this for 10 minutes a day until you can send them to their bed even when you are in a different room. Also, slowly increase the time they lay on their bed before you give them the treat. Keep upping the time until you can leave them there for 10-15 minutes before they get up.
Step
5
Sit down on the sofa or at the table with food and repeat
When they start to beg, exactly as you did before, instruct them to go to their bed and lure them with a treat if need be. Keep practicing this each time you eat and they beg. When they have the hang of it, slowly reduce the frequency you give them treats until they are no longer needed at all. The key to this technique is consistency. If you send them away every time and master the ‘bed’ command, you will always be able to rid yourself of your begging dog whenever you desire.
Recommend training method?

The Time Out Method

ribbon-method-3
Least Recommended
6 Votes
Time Out method for Not Beg
Step
1
Get into a room that has no food or toys
This is going to be the ‘time out’ room that your dog goes in when they beg for food. The idea will be that the room is so boring they won’t want to risk begging in case they get sent there.
Step
2
Eat as you normally would
Keep a close eye out for your dog, you need to be ready to act swiftly when they beg.
Step
3
Send your dog away, or place them in the time out room
Try and send your dog to the room. If this doesn't work, place them in the time out room. After several minutes, let your dog back out of the room and continue with your meal.
Step
4
Repeat as necessary
If your dog comes back to you and begs again, place him back in the time out room. Again, leave them there for a few minutes and bring them back out. Even if they whine and bark, it is important you totally ignore them.
Step
5
Be consistent and get everyone on board
The key to success is sticking to this method for as many days or weeks that it takes. You may have many long meals and they may frequently go cold, but it will be worth it in the end when your dog breaks the begging habit. It is also essential you get the rest of the household on board. If one member of the family doesn’t stick to the time out rule, the dog will be confused and success will take much longer. So be patient, consistent and work as a team because eventually the time out room will be enough of a deterrent that your dog gives up begging for good.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Amy Caldwell

Published: 09/20/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Gemma
Siberian Husky
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Gemma
Siberian Husky
6 Months

She constantly jumping on me by and when I do get her to sit I reward her with petting her but the minute I stop she jumps up in my face

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello Paula, Check out the Step Toward method I have linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Ahyoka
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
10 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Ahyoka
Staffordshire Bull Terrier
10 Months

Overly excited . Forget size and manners when anyone comes in contact with her besides myseelf

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
239 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Here are some tips to help your overly excited dog. 1. Don’t Encourage Excited Behavior The worst thing you can do is to pay attention to an overly excited dog. He’ll just connect being excited with being rewarded. Instead, you should ignore him when he starts acting up. This means no stroking or patting, no talking, and no eye contact. If your dog attempts to jump up on you, immediately push him away and turn your back on him. 2. Encourage Calm Behavior Encouraging your dog to calm down is the flip side of the first tip. When your dog becomes calm and submissive, reward him with affection, lots of “good boys” or “good girls,” and possibly a treat. Ignoring excited behavior and rewarding calm behavior will send a message to your dog that calmer is better. 3. Wear Your Dog Out (and Possibly Yourself!) It’s easier to keep your dog calm if he doesn’t have sufficient energy to become overly excited in the first place. So make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Just letting him out in the yard to do his business and run around won’t do. Your dog needs long walks to literally walk off his excess energy. 4. Provide Outlets Keeping your dog’s mind active with play can also help to reduce excess energy. Games like searching for a hidden treat, playing fetch, or running through an obstacle course are all excellent ways to stimulate your dog’s mind and drain his energy. However, you must set some limitations. This means that if your dog gets overly excited, the game ends. The dog needs to learn that if he gets too crazy, playtime goes away. 5. Keep Yourself Calm Most importantly, your dog won’t be calm if you aren’t. So, think about how you are able to correct your dog’s behavior. Can you calm your dog with just a few quiet words, or do you find yourself shouting “no, no” over and over in exasperation? If you recognize yourself in the shouting category, then you’re exacerbating your dog’s excitement. The only time you should correct a dog with a short loud sound is to get his attention if he’s about to do something dangerous like running into traffic. Be Patient Some overly excited dogs have natural high-energy levels. If your dog is like this, it can take some time before you start to see improvements in his behavior. The important thing is to remain consistent in your methods and not to give up.

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Question
Roxy
African dog
2 Years
-1 found helpful
Question
-1 found helpful
Roxy
African dog
2 Years

How to keep my dog off the couches.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
239 Dog owners recommended

Hi there! Thank you for all of the details. This type of behavior training takes a lot of repetition over the course of a few weeks. Every time your dog jumps on the couch, you give the command "off" and direct your dog off of the couch. Give a treat for calm, seated behavior. You can also put a command to a spot you would like her to go to. Like "go to bed" or something of that sort. Redirect her to her spot and give her a treat. You are going to do this on repeat for a while! But she WILL get it. Thank you for writing in!

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Midnight Buddy
Minpin
1 Year
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Midnight Buddy
Minpin
1 Year

My Buddy lunges at all children and attempts to bite them. When placed one on one with them he settles down. But continues behavior every time a child or stranger enters the house. Often times he growls and will not settle down.and has to be restrained. How can I stop this behavior?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question about Buddy. This issue has to be addressed by a behavioral trainer before it gets out of hand and Buddy bites someone hard enough to cause an injury. The fact that he lunges at guests as well is an issue that means he may be overly protective. In the meantime, maybe keep him away from kids - they may not know how to act around Buddy and set him off even more. Ask your vet for a recommendation. You will want a trainer who has experience with positive training and discipline with kindness yet firmness (being too tough may bring out more aggressive tendencies in Buddy). How well does Buddy know his obedience commands? I suggest taking him back through his obedience levels to reinforce his sit, down, stay, off, leave it, and come commands. Having these commands ingrained will go a long way to making him behave. The classes will also help to socialize him. While waiting to meet the behavioral trainer, you can look through https://wagwalking.com/training/not-bite-5 and https://wagwalking.com/training/be-calm-around-strangers. All the best to you and Buddy!

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Bertie
West Highland White Terrier
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bertie
West Highland White Terrier
2 Years

Bertie barks and digs the ground around the hedgehog that comes into the garden. We don't know when it is there because it's usually hidden in the undergrowth. Bert will try to nudge it and bite it. But the problem is when we pick him up to remove him from the hedgehog, he bites, snarls and usually breaks the skin. Because it is always dark and we live in the countryside we can't stop the hedgehog getting in. Bertie has even escaped a few times through a dense privet hedge to get into the neighbours garden, who feeds the hedgehog. Normally he is a loving dog, but has always suffered from anxiety and fear from when he was a puppy, this behaviour was exhibited when we collected him from the breeder. What can we do because it's a nocturnal problem and not straight forward to prevent the hedgehog coming into the garden.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
943 Dog owners recommended

Hello Wendy, I suggest teaching an e-collar come (so that you can consistently enforce the command without grabbing him), commands like "Leave It" and "Out" - which means leave the area. When you are present, using e-collar training, give clear commands that you have already taught him at that point - like Come, Out, and Leave It...Save Come for when absolutely necessary and use the other two more since this will be a bit of a negative association. Check out James Penrith from Take the Lead Dog Training on Youtube and his videos on livestock chasing and come...your scenario is a bit different but the work that James does with teaching dogs to respond to command using the e-collar in the presence of other animals using working level (the lowest level that specific dog responds to) stimulation on an e-collar, is very similar to what you want to do here. You can also teach pup an automatic avoidance of the hedgehog - similar to how James works with live stock chasing dogs when no one is around. He uses low level stim, long leashes, obedience commands, and lots of repetition to teach the initial lesson about leaving the animal alone, when he is there to enforce the command and teach, then he also uses a high stimulation level when the dog goes after the livestock while he hides and the dog doesn't think he is present to enforce the command - letting the dog associate the punishment with his own actions and not the trainer. It's important to lay the initial foundation of the dog learning to listen to the person and learn that they are not supposed to chase/dig, so that when pup is corrected later when the person doesn't appear to be there, the dog associates the correction with their action and doesn't just become afraid of the livestock. I would also contact some type of trapper or pest control too to see if they could live trap the hedgehog and remove it completely if there are not many of them. Removing it completely would not only solve your issue, it would also be easier for pup than trying to avoid the hedgehog after training. Be sure to look into who is qualified and licensed to catch hedgehogs and if that is allowed in your state. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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