You know your dog would do anything to eat your food over his kibble. Your dog sits at your feet while you eat, puts his head on your lap, paws you, or if he is tall enough, puts his head on the table during dinner. Sure, he has that adorable face you can’t resist and don’t want to be angry with, but you know it’s hard to get through a meal when you keep wondering if your dog is going to end up stealing your food!
What can you do about it?
Resist the temptation: You have to resist the temptation to feed your dog “table food”. We know when your dog gives you “the eyes” you don’t want to say no, but feeding your dog from the table reinforces this bad behavior. Yes, your dog loves meat, fish, vegetables etc., but what if what you are eating has seasonings on it that could make your dog sick?
Be firm: In a firm voice, tell your pooch “down” or “off”. Use whichever command he responds to best- and stick to it. Every time he puts his head or paws on your lap or table, use the command.
Be consistent: Everyone at the table has to follow the same rules. Your dog will try to go from person to person to see who will cave in. Encourage your family and friends to be firm and consistent as part of the training process.
Ignore the behavior: Just because your dog is cute, doesn’t mean you have to pet him and pay attention to his antics at the dinner table. If you know your dog is trying to get your attention so you will feed him human food, don’t make a fuss over him. Of course, you should keep an eye out to make sure your dog is safe, but don’t encourage bad behavior or confuse your dog by telling him down/off and then petting him as you eat.
Keep your dog distracted: This is the perfect time to give your dog a fun toy or challenging toy to play with. A great idea is to take a Kong, stuff it with some peanut butter, or stuff it with some kibble and freeze it, and let your dog have fun and tucker himself out while trying to get his kibble out! Your dog will have fun and will be getting exercise at the same time.