- Make the dinner table a dog-free zone. Teach your dog to go to his bed, a mat or his crate when meals are served. It’s a great opportunity for him to practice a long down-stay. If necessary, use a baby gate or other barrier to prevent him from crashing your dinnertime do.
- To sweeten the deal, give him a stuffed Kong or food puzzle to occupy his time. That way, he doesn’t feel deprived, and you are rewarding him for being away from the table.
- Feed him first. If he has already eaten, he’ll be less interested in your food when you sit down at the table, especially if you ignore his longing looks.
- Finally, never give attention for begging. No laughing (I know; it’s hard not to), no talking to the dog, no yelling at him. Attention, even if it’s negative, just reinforces the behavior. If you don’t want to see begging, then quietly and calmly take your dog to another room or to his crate and leave him there until the end of the meal. He’ll learn that begging is a bone-a-fide route to disappointment.
Tuesday, Apr 1st, 2014 | By Dr. Marty Becker