Friday, April 5, 2013

Why Do Dogs Beg? How to Train Your Mooching Pooch

As the saying goes: you want what you can’t have. Ever wonder if your dog feels that way about what’s on your dinner plate? Dogs are notorious for begging for human food, even dogs who have never tasted anything but kibble. Why?

According to a recent “Ask a Vet” post on 7x7SF, the answer can be summed up in a single word: optimism. Your furry friend is tempted by the delicious smells coming from your dining room table, whether they have tasted table scraps before or not. Think about it: if you had only eaten bran cereal all your life, and were suddenly shown a chicken sandwich, wouldn't you be intrigued? As innate scavengers, dogs can’t help tracking down human food and pleading for a taste.

Despite dog’s inbred need to mooch, begging is a fairly simple problem to correct. Veterinarian Dr. Jeannine Berger, who is quoted in the “Ask a Vet” post on, recommends using management techniques and training solutions to teach your dog not to beg.

For starters, never feed your dog scraps from the table. This will only reinforce the behavior that you are trying to stop. If you do feed your dog human food, be sure to only reward them with it when they are behaving properly. Presenting the food to them in their regular dog food dish can further distance the human food from your dinner table.

Restricting your dog’s access to the dining room while you eat is one way to stop begging for good. This prevention tactic can be applied by putting up a baby gate, tethering your dog to a nearby piece of furniture or putting them in a crate with a food stuffed toy to keep them occupied.

If you prefer to keep your dog close, remove some of the temptation by making sure they are not hungry during your dinner time. Make a habit out of feeding your pet before you eat dinner, or present them with a food puzzle toy during your meal. A full and otherwise occupied dog will be less inclined to beg for your food.

You can also teach your dog to go to a certain spot during dinner, and reward them with a treat for staying there. Whether it’s a mat, bed, or corner of the room, your dog will begin to associate the spot with a reward, and become motivated to stay.

Every dog owner will find different methods that work best for their pup. The key is to be persistent. Try one training method steadily for a few weeks. If you find it ineffective, try another, and stick to it. As another saying goes: practice makes perfect!

For extra practice, our manners daycare and lodging packages help reinforce behaviors that will make it much easier to stop your dog from begging. Our staff works diligently with dogs to help build sit, lie down, and stay skills that could mean the difference between a peaceful, patient pooch and a drooling, crying dinner-time dog. Call 973-539-0377 to book a manners session today!


  1. Great information!! The begging face is very cute which does not help in correcting the bad habit :)

  2. It all makes sense. Thanks for the great information!

  3. Thanks for the tips! Wonder if 7X7 had the article facing a review of a trendy restaurant? Fancy food in a doggie bag is a precursor to lots of begging.

  4. This article is a joke. Crating our dog just makes him whine like a child until dinner is finished; it's annoying as hell. And feeding your dog before dinner is also not a proven tactic. Dogs are known to eat themselves to death (literally), and even if we feed our dog before dinner, he'll still come to the table and beg. Every dog I have owned (and I have owned many) have been like this. Most of these 'dog' experts probably haven't owned a dog in their lives. The same can be said about those self-proclaimed children experts: they haven't raised a single child, but somehow they are 'experts'.

  5. Hi well i have a chiuaha and my roommate has a boxer Im trying to train my dog not to beg for food and she see's the boxer beg his owner for table and of course he gives in and gives his dog the rest of his food he even lets his dog lick off the plate and it grasses me out how can i stop that without being rude

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  7. Thanks so much for this post!My pup has been super insistent lately on begging for or trying to steel my food. Hopefully this will help out. Keep up the great work on this blog!