How does a Begging Dog develop?
Dogs are one of the most social animals in our household today and what better way to show our love for them by allowing them to take part in our families’ get together over lunch or dinner.
During these interactions you may have caught a glimpse of your pooch sneaking a few treats here and there from your visitors.
Or you have experienced a nagging feeling that you are constantly been watched, when you look down and see a flea-ball watching your every move while you eat.
So how does your pooch develop their begging behaviour?
- Your dog has mastered the soppy, sad eyes and hopeful stare that you and your visitors can not resist.
- Your table scraps and leftovers are fed to your dog from the table.
- Your self-taught dog can move like a thief in the night and steal food undetected…or not.
- Your dog is not getting the adequate daily nutrition their body needs
In most cases, dogs learn their begging behaviour by receiving a treat (from your plate) when they perform their ‘oh I’m so hungry’ act.
“My dog, she looks at me sometimes with that look, and I think maybe deep down inside she must know exactly how I feel. But then maybe she just wants the food off my plate.” ~Anonymous
Simple rule: Do not give food to your dog while you are eating.
Here are a few disadvantages of a begging dog:
Not all visitors think it is cute that your dog is pawing or nudging them while they are eating.
In fact, having contact with ANY dog while eating can comprise your health, children are particularly vulnerable:
Transmitting parasitic worms: if your dog is known to roll on the grass (or other matter) outside, there is a good chance that your dog may be picking up sticky worm eggs. Once your visitor pats your dog, the worm eggs are attached to your visitor’s hands and fingers. Without washing their hands before eating, they can easily swallow these eggs with their meal.
Germs: dogs do NOT contain antiseptic salvia. It is a myth. The dog’s salvia does contain nasty bacteria which is harmful to us and children, compromising our health.
Injuries: if your dog is ‘politely’ scratching at a visitor in an attempt to get food, and your visitor ignores your dog’s behaviour, your dog may become frustrated. This can lead to your dog barking, snapping, jumping up or scratching your visitor leading to injuries.
Your dog’s health is at stake if they like to eat table scraps:
Obesity: human food is not made for dogs. Dogs cannot naturally digest preservatives, fats, sugar and certain plant materials. With all this combined in table scraps, such as bacon rinds and sweets, your dog will gain extra kilos, leading to more health issues such as arthritis, fatty blood and more. Talk to your veterinarian about how people foods can have a health impact on your dog.
Ok, it’s not like your dog will go all out cat burglar and spend countless hours planning the next food heist … but your dog will certainly learn when is the best time to ‘steal’ your meals undetected (most likely when your back is turned).
This can cause a major issue in the household, not only because you lost your meal, but your dog could have stolen a roast straight from the oven, resulting in dangerous burns to their mouth and all the way into the stomach.
Your veterinary bill could range from $500 to $3000 in the one visit depending on what your dog ate.
What do I do if I have a Begger?
- Do not feed your dog from the table again: this will decrease the reinforced behaviour.
- Walk away from your pooch if they start begging: your dog will decrease their behaviour as their begging will cue you to walk away from them.
- Feed your dog at the same time: forget about the dominancy theory about eating before your dog. Your dog will not think much less of you if they were fed before, during or after you. Instead, they are more concerned about getting food into their stomachs.
- Teach Mat Training: your dog is positioned on their own bed/mat, with enrichment, and away from everyone eating their meals.
- Put begging behaviours on cue: this can help decrease those undesired behaviours because they have not been asked for.
- Contact Us: We will assess and walk you and your family through on what you need to do and how to do it.
If you require further assistance with your begging dog, contact our experienced and professional dog trainer, Christine on 0409 636 117 or email email@example.com.