Like most people, dogs love food. They’re willing to sacrifice their dignity in order to obtain it. If food is not given freely, but instead eaten in front of them, they will beg. Some will do so relentlessly.
A begging dog can be particularly frustrating for his owner. He’ll sit and stare longingly at his owner’s plate, hoping to receive a tasty morsel, regardless of size. Unfortunately, many people acquiesce under the pressure, and give their pets table scraps just to send them away. This is a bad idea for a number of reasons.
Below, we’ll explain the side effects table scraps can have on your canine; you’ll learn the reasons you should avoid providing them. We’ll also describe a few methods you can use to discourage the behavior, so you and your family can eat in peace.
Reasons To Avoid Feeding Your Pet Table Scraps
Commercial brands of dog food are specially formulated with the nutrients your pet needs to stay healthy. The vitamins and minerals contained in these brands are necessary for whatever stage of development your canine is in. Table scraps rarely provide the same level of nutrition. Instead, they usually deliver excess calories, which are likely to cause weight problems for your pet. And that leads to avoidable health issues.
Another reason to avoid giving your dog table scraps is because doing so can lead to digestive problems. Even though your pet will eat anything placed in front of him, his body may be unable to tolerate some types of food.
Also, given a steady diet of people food, your canine may eventually become fussy with his own meals. He’ll essentially acquire a taste for the foods you feed your family. And that’s when his begging will begin to take on a new level of urgency.
Preventing Access To Your Table
This method removes your pet’s opportunity to beg. You can use a couple of different approaches depending on whether you would like your canine to remain in the room in which you’re eating, or to stay out.
If you’d like his company in the room, place a lead and collar on him, and secure him to a nearby chair or other piece of furniture. He should be kept far enough away from the table to minimize the temptation to beg. Consider providing a chew toy to give him something to do while you and your family eat.
You can also bar him from the room, which can be done easily with a pet gate. Confine your dog to a room elsewhere in your home, so he’s unable to watch you eat through the gate. This will prevent him from whining to gain your attention.
Sending Him Elsewhere
This method requires more time and patience since there is training involved. The goal is to give your dog something to do elsewhere in your home without confining him to that particular space. You’ll need to train him to stay in his space while you and your family enjoy meals.
At first, your dog will be tempted to abandon his designated spot, and come looking for table scraps. Over time, however, you can teach him to remain there, thereby preventing him from begging.
This method has the added benefit of being helpful in other circumstances. For example, suppose you’re entertaining guests, and would like to prevent your canine from bothering them. Simply instruct him to go to his designated space while your guests are visiting. As long as he has a few toys to occupy his attention, he’ll be fine.
When your dog begs, he does so because he has an expectation his begging will produce results. This is the reason owners who have given in to their canines in the past find it difficult to curb the behavior. But it’s never too late. Use the methods above to turn your begging pooch into a patient, pleasant companion.