It’s probably safe to say that Man’s Best Friend mastered the soulful stare that he uses on us at dinnertime quite some time ago, perhaps in the earliest days of our longstanding friendship. Dogs have really mastered the art of begging. Those big sad eyes, that pathetic ‘Feed-me-I’m-starving’ expression, and that tiny heartbreaking whimper all work wonders on us. Many of us regularly give in and fork over tidbits from our plates as soon as we are faced with those big round eyes. While it’s understandable that you don’t want your dog to feel deprived, and that many of us use treats to make our dogs feel loved and perhaps slightly pampered, at the end of the day, begging is a bad habit. In this article, your local vet Cambrian goes over some facts about your canine buddy’s begging habit.
There’s no mystery here. Dogs beg because it gets them food. If your dog begs regularly, he’s learned that it works, and he’s probably learned exactly what expression and tactic works the best. That means he’s been rewarded for bad behavior. The more he begs successfully, the more insistent he will become. Some dogs get so spoiled that they will sit beside the table and bark or drool, or even become so bold as to snatch something from your plate.
Part of why Fido’s begging is so successful is that he manages to tug at your heartstrings and make you think he is really hungry. Don’t forget that he has his own supper. He is not starving. In fact, if he’s begging at every meal, he might actually be slightly overweight. That said, he’s very good at convincing you otherwise. What should you do? Ignore him. Don’t look at those big sad eyes. Don’t talk to him while you’re eating. If your dog is craving attention as well as food, even negative attention may encourage him to continue.
It’s understandable that you’ll want to indulge your furry pal now and then, but never do so in response to his begging. Wait until long after you are done eating, and put food in his bowl, but don’t cave in at the dinner table. When it comes to training dogs, patience, and consistency are always key.
Do you have any questions about your dog’s care or behavior? If so, please feel free to contact us at any time. As your local vet Cambrian, we are here to help.