by Sojos | October 09, 2012
As we’ve discussed before, feeding your dog human food and table scraps isn’t a bad thing – as long as you’re feeding healthy items, along with his natural dog food diet. And while it can be a fun feeling to give Fido a taste of what you’re having, going about it the wrong way can leave your dog with some undesirable habits, like begging.
Have you ever been at someone’s dinner table while their dog sits there drooling, whining, and crowding people? It’s disruptive and rude, no matter how cute our furry friend is. The best way to keep him cute, even during dinner, is to teach your buddy some manners, and train yourself the right feeding habits, as well.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Stay on his meal schedule. If your dog eats once or twice a day, it’s important that he stays on that feeding schedule. If his evening meal is at 5:30 and you finish dinner at 7, don’t put the leftovers or scraps out for him to eat. Instead, save them in a container in the fridge and add them to his bowl at his next meal time. That will help him to know that he gets food from you only at certain times.
2. Avoid giving food directly from the table. The best way to keep your dog from pawing at your leg or poking you with his nose while you’re at the dinner table is to avoid taking items from your plate and giving them directly to him. If you do, your dog will think that he’ll get those yummy treats if he stays right next to you and gives you a prompt (like whining, scratching or nudging). Ask kids and guests to observe the “no feeding from the table” rule so your dog doesn’t become confused.
3. Give him somewhere to go while you are eating. Training your dog to go to a comfy spot, away from the table, is also helpful in curbing begging behavior. Place a bed in the area where you want your dog to stay, and ask him to lay down there, while also incorporating a different command word, like “bed.” Start by rewarding him when he lays down, and then work on moving farther away from the bed as you continue your training. Next, move onto giving him the command, and when he walks to the bed and lays down, ask him to stay – then go to him and reward him for staying in place. Eventually, your dog will learn to walk away when you ask him to, keeping him from crowding the table and begging.
Above all, be consistent with your dog – that’s the best way to establish habits for both you and him without depriving him of the joy in he gets from periodic healthy, human-quality foods!