How to Teach Your Dog To Stop Begging
Some pet owners think that a dog begging for its food looks so adorable. Most other people do not think so. Many pet parents understand that this dog behavior is unacceptable. Unfortunately, most owners often cannot stand the sad and pleading look on their pet’s face. So they give in. This reinforces the behavior. If you want to put a stop to your dog’s begging behavior, here are some things you can do.
Teach Your Pet the “Stay” Command
One of the most effective ways to stop your pet dog from begging in any circumstance is by training it to respond to the command “stay”. This works in other situations. For example, if you have other activities at home that you do not want to be bothered, teaching the “stay” command can also be beneficial.
A very important component of this command is the release. What it does is that it “releases” your dog from its “stay” position. After all, you cannot expect the dog to “stay” in its place forever. It must also learn when it is okay for it to move to another place. Some pet parents will use the verbal cue “OK”, while others will use “free”. You can come up with your own verbal cue to signify that your pet can already move out from its “stay” position. Once you decide on the verbal cue, do not replace it. You want consistency in training the dog.
Training a dog the “stay” command is easy enough. For the first phases of the training, it is imperative that you do it in a place with no distractions. It should also be quiet. Get the yummiest treat you can find to serve as a reward for the dog.
In a firm voice, say “stay”. Hold out your hand like you’re a traffic policeman stopping oncoming traffic. Your dog should stay in its position. Right after saying “stay”, say “release”. Give your pet the yummy treat. Add lots of praise. Always do this in a very happy and delighted tone of voice. Do not worry about the rapid sequencing of the command and the release word. Over time, you will increase the time gap between these two.
Keep practicing the said maneuver. If your dog is already consistent in “staying” in its position, you can increase the duration of the “stay”. First, issue the “stay” command”. Wait three seconds. Issue the “release” word and give your pet dog its delicious treat. Increase the elapsed time of “stay” in 3-second increments. If your pet breaks its “stay”, then you will have to revert to that duration where your dog was able to complete in a successful manner.
The next phase of your dog’s training will be to increase the distance between you and the pet. For this, the trick is to observe the following sequence: step and lean back, wait 3 seconds, move back towards the dog, release, and reward your pet. It is best to do it in half steps. Do not rush this phase of the dog’s training. Increasing your distance from your dog may encourage it to move towards you. As such, you should take it slowly. Also, do not put any treat in your hand. This will entice the dog to come towards you. It is also important to return to your starting position in front of your dog before releasing it.
If your pet hound stays in its place from about 10 feet away from you and for at least a minute or two, you can start training it with distractions. Always start inside the house. You can then move to the backyard. Over time, you can practice the training in the dog park or in other places.
Training your dog to “stay” when told to do so is only the beginning of its journey. You have to keep on strengthening its responses to the command. For instance, you can command your pet to “stay” while you are cooking, watching the TV, reading a book, or having your siesta on your couch. You can also leave your canine friend for a few minutes and go to another room. Make sure to use a mirror so you can still see the animal around corners.
If you do this correctly, you will be able to put a stop to your pet’s begging behavior for good. All you need is to show your dog to a certain area and command it to “stay” while you and the rest of the family enjoy your dinner.
Teach Your Pet to Go to Its Place
You can think of this as a variation of the “stay” command. The beauty of this command is that you can get the dog to go to a certain spot where it will “stay”. There is no need to bring the dog to this place as it can go there by itself. For this command to work, it is imperative that it already knows the “down” command. This is crucial in making the dog lie down in its designated place.
The most comfortable place will be on a dog bed. Decide where to place this in your house. Choose a delicious treat to use as a lure. This will help entice your pet to go to its place. Pick a word that will serve as the animal’s cue for going to its place. Most dog owners use “place”, although you can choose any word you want. It is critical to stick to one verbal cue during the training, though.
Start off by standing or sitting next to the dog bed, pet crate, or any other place you want your canine friend to stay in. Say “place” in a firm tone. At the same time, show your furry friend the treat you have in your hand. This will encourage the dog to come to you. The moment all of its four paws are on in “place”, say “good dog!” or “yes!” to mark the behavior. A clicker works fine, too. Reward the animal with the treat and plenty of praise. Practice this maneuver for 5 minutes. Evaluate if your dog is already consistent in coming to you whenever you say “place”. If not, then practice some more. If it is, then proceed with the next step.
In this stage, you will introduce the “down” command. Issue the “place” command. Wait for the dog to plant all of its four paws onto the bed, crate, or mat. As soon as all of its four limbs are in place, give the “down” command. Once your pet is in the lying down position, reward it with the delicious treat and praise it, too. Keep practicing until your dog shows mastery of the maneuver.
By this time, you can start introducing the release word. Right after issuing the down command, say the release word. Treat and praise the dog. Over time, increase the length of time between the down command and the release command. This will make the dog stay in its place until you tell them it is okay to get up.
Get Everyone in the Family Involved
All your work in training your canine friend to “stay” or to go to its place will be for naught if the other members of your family do not observe the same. It is also important to show them how to command the dog to stay in its place.
A more important action will be to teach everyone in the family never to give in to the begging behavior of your pet. Most kids have a very different understanding of how to care for animals. They often think that it is okay to give food to dogs if it is begging. After all, we all teach our kids to share what they have. So, if you have a kid with a yummy burger in hand, there is a chance that he or she will give more than a simple bite to your canine pet.
Teach your kids that feeding your dog certain foods is not good for their health. It can lead to obesity if their main meal is not adjusted to account for the calories from human foods. Worse, they can become ill because of some ingredients in the food. Most children will understand it since they do not want any harm to come to their beloved pets.
You may also want to tell your guests and visitors to never give in to your dog’s pleading looks. Some breeds have a knack for displaying a very sad face to help it gain the food from your table or your hand. Don’t give in. This is why it is always a good idea to command the pet to stay in one place whenever there are other people around.
Putting a stop to your pet dog’s begging behavior requires the cooperation of everyone in the family. By training the pet to “stay” or to go to its “place”, you can have a more peaceful dinner without being bothered by your canine friend.