A common reason or excuse for why people do not want to feed their pet’s real food is that it will create unwanted behaviours such as aggression or begging at the table. While begging is an unnecessary behaviour, and is certainly rude, it is not the food that is the problem, it is the encouragement and training you do with your dog.
If your dog is routinely fed scraps from the kitchen or your dining room table, they are going to learn that you are going to feed them something every time. If you now and then slip them a piece under the table, that only reinforces the idea in your dog’s brain that there is a good opportunity they may get something every night, as well if you’re trying to break the begging habit it is confusing for them. You must be consistent. Everybody in the household must be on board with the same training and feeding rituals. Dogs love to eat and humans are enablers. We can’t blame our dogs for repeating behaviours that have been taught to them.
So how can you feed your dog fresh, real food without undesirable behaviours?
If you never feed your dog from the kitchen counter or table, they will quickly learn that their persistent begging has not paid off. Make your dog sit, and wait away when prepping food. That way, if something dangerous ever fell on the floor, they learn the “stay/wait”(see below) position and do not ingest it.
Place the real food in your dog’s bowl.
Keep your pets out of the dining room area while you are eating. Don’t give them any attention and avoid looking at them. Give them a treat, say “stay/wait” command and walk away. If they move, firmly say “no”, leading your dog back to where they are supposed to be. Repeat this as many times as it takes for them to learn. Bad habits are hard to break; repetition and patience is key! Remember to reward and praise your dog with happy tone, “good!” when done correctly. When you are done eating at the table, approach your dog from the “stay/wait” position and say “ok/release” command. You can reward with a treat.
You can also provide your dog with a Kong toy of their own if you have one, filled with a treat or some of our previous recipes to keep them busier/distracted easier and longer, but we don’t have one so we use the “wait” command and release with a cookie.
All of our Sheepie Snack Sunday blogs & recipes can be found on our Facebook page in our album here.
Making the fur fly,
Danielle & Riggs
The Pet Professionals: Cert. Vet Assist, Professional Dog Groomer, Canine Nutritionist.