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

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

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

Least Recommended
5 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?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Merlo
AnimalBreed object
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Merlo
AnimalBreed object
3 Months

Our puppy is 3 months old and she only will sleep with us in our bed. She used to sleep in her bed ( which was right next to ours) but off late she insists on sleeping with us. No matter how many times we make her get off the bed she jumps back right in.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
673 Dog owners recommended

Hello, At this age you need to confine Merlo in a crate or exercise pen at night for at least the next six months, until she forms a habit of sleeping there. You will not be able to be consistent about keeping her off of the bed at night unless you stay up all night, and she knows this. Therefore, you need to confine her until she accepts that that is where she sleeps at night. If you wish for her to sleep in your room, then confine her in there and expect her to protest for the first week. Stay strong, that's a big indication that she needs to learn a bit of independence and boundaries. You can also confine her in another room. It might seem cruel when she protests being alone, but it can actually prepare her for handling being alone later on, which can help to prevent Separation Anxiety. Something that English Spring Spaniels can struggle with. If you have never crate trained her before and wish to use the crate, then check out this article on how to introduce it: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Merlo's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Fin
AnimalBreed object
3 Years
2 found helpful
Question
2 found helpful
Fin
AnimalBreed object
3 Years

Fin has become a serious counter surfer. What are you suggestions for stopping this. I now work in an environment where I can bring him, but there is food around, and putting it out of reach is challenging - like 5 feet!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
673 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kim, You need to booby trap the counter. There are several devices on the market created for this. There are fake mouse traps that you can put underneath table cloths. They cannot close onto your dog's paw but they will jump up and surprise him if he touches one. There are also mats that deter jumping, such as Scat Mats. The idea is to make the counter unappealing consistently, even when you are not there watching him (you should be hiding close by though to pick up the food that he tried to steal so that he will not get brave enough to try again and succeed or the food just might be worth the surprise to him).You can hide nearby or set up a camera and spy on him from the other room. Make sure the food smells great but isn't where he can swallow it in one bite, so that if he grabs it, when he's surprised he will drop it. A chicken thigh in a bag with the bag opened for the chickeny steam to come out is one good option. A bagel with peanut butter between the pieces is another. You can also hire a professional trainer who is very experienced using remote training collars and set up a camera to watch him while food is left out. You can stimulate the collar from the other room to surprise him and catch him in the act as soon as he jumps up. You will need to booby trap the counter several different times on different days to teach him that the counters are never worth jumping on, and you can also use the collar at the office, if he tries to test those counters too. I highly recommend hiring a trainer for this though. Only a trainer who is experienced in there use will be able to properly fit the collar, and decide what level to use it on. E-collars should only be used by those who are qualified. Also, do not buy a poorly made one. Poorly made ones can be dangerous. E-collar Technologies, Dogtra, Sportdog, and Garmin are all well respected brands. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Fin's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Geoff
AnimalBreed object
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Geoff
AnimalBreed object
3 Months

Hi, our not so little 3 month old GS is obsessed with food. I’ve managed to feed him at regular times with our Choccy Lab, and they now eat separately.
However, when my 3yr old or us have any food, he jumps up and attempts to snatch it out of hand, or if it’s a snack, he will jump onto the settee and literally eats it out of kiddies hand.
Help please!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
673 Dog owners recommended

Hello Mel, First work on teaching Out and Leave It commands. For leave it - instead of working with him leaving clothing articles (like the article talks about) when he gets pretty good at it, practice teaching him to leave snacks and plates of food alone. Never give him what he was supposed to be leaving alone - instead reward with a different treat or toy. Out command: 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 When your son has a snack, I suggest having a chewproof leash, like VirchewLy brand leashes, attached to the wall using an eyehook, in the room. Put a bed or cot there for him and teach him the Place command and use the chew proof leash to make sure that he stays there when you cannot supervise also. Check out the video below for teaching Place. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Geoff's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Bertie
AnimalBreed object
2 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bertie
AnimalBreed object
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
673 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

Add a comment to Bertie's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Question
Lucky
AnimalBreed object
9 Months
2 found helpful
Question
2 found helpful
Lucky
AnimalBreed object
9 Months

I used a blanket as Lucky's bed, but since he is used to going to the couch, he usually goes either the couch or the blanket, which I'm fine with. For the down-stay, how should I train him this? Should I tell him stay when he's on the bed, or should I tell him stay anywhere else? Also, our kitchen has sliding doors, so it would be impossible to put a dog flap or a piece of wood in between the crack of the door and the wall. His bed is next to the dining table but far from the kitchen. He also is very disobedient, as when I'm there, he'll go to bed if there's no distractions, but when I go into the kitchen or upstairs, he jumps off and darts to counter surfing.

For the bed and couch, would it confuse him to let him go to either one? I don't mind him on either one.

I want Lucky to stay even when I'm not present. Is this possible? We usually eat in the kitchen, which is far from the bed and couch, and sending him to his bed (I wanted to use bed) is impossible without pushing him back up til 3 feet from his bed. He would stay if we eat at the dinner table and our food is not too delicious to him, and also when I'm there.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
673 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kien, First, you can teach him to stay both on the bed or the couch. Practice teaching him the command "Stay" in general and then practice it in all types of locations, including the bed. "Stay" simply means stay in the position you are in - regardless of where Lucky is located, but for a dog to learn this you have to practice it a lot and in different places. Once Lucky understands "Stay" I would use the bed for meal times most of the time though. It sounds like it is in a better location away from the food but is still somewhere that you can see when he tries to get off of it. You can use the couch for other things, like when you are hanging out in the den and he is being pushy and needs to leave you alone. Purchase a chew proof leash that is at least five-six feet long or longer, like VirChewLy (You can also get a longer one that looks similar to this one if needed): https://www.amazon.com/VirChewLy-Indestructible-Leash-Medium-Black/dp/B001W8457I?psc=1&SubscriptionId=0ENGV10E9K9QDNSJ5C82&tag=lidotr-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B001W8457I Clip one end of the leash to Lucky and attach the other end of the leash to a secure piece of furniture (Like the dinning table if he cannot pull the table) or install an eye-hook in the baseboard of the wall and clip him to the wall with the leash. Give him enough slack in the leash for him to attempt to get off the bed but not be able to leave it completely (the leash should stop him when he walks off of the bed). When you see him attempt to get off the bed, hold the palm of your hand toward him like a stop sign and hurry toward him while saying "Ah Ah!", to remind him to get back on the bed. When you are not watching him or in the room, then the leash will do the work for you so that he is not learning to be sneaky, but instead is developing a good habit of staying on the bed. When he stays on the bed and doesn't try to get off, then toss a couple of treats onto the bed for him when you walk by during dinner, after dinner, during training sessions, or other times he is staying there - these treats should be his own dog food and he should only get food at meal times while he is on his bed and the food is his own dog food - not people food. When you are able to work on the "Stay" with him (and not in the middle of eating yourself), then you can help him get better at it by practicing walking away just slightly further than you did before. If he pops off the bed, put your hand out like a stop sign, rush toward him (so that he will back up himself and be a little surprised), while you tell him "Ah-Ah". When he does good and stays on the bed, then toss a treat onto the bed for him and practice walking toward him and away from him without him getting off the bed. Overtime, you should be able to work up to being out of the room, but this takes months of practice for him to stay there for a couple of hours whether you are in the room or not. Keep at it but also know that at his age, that is a long-term goal. The leash will help him learn to do it right now, while you also practice a really solid long-term "Stay" with him over the next year. A "Stay" that good is great to have for all sorts of purposes so I recommend working on it, but use the leash also right now since that will take time to teach him. you can buy an eye-hook at most home improvement stores like Lowes or Home Depot. An eye-hook looks like this: https://www.indiamart.com/proddetail/eye-hook-11932940833.html Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Add a comment to Lucky's experience

Was this experience helpful?

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd