The holidays. The one time of year when overindulgence is not only accepted, it's practically required. With all those savory, delectable aromas permeating through the house it's a wonder any dog can keep his cool. Overly intense eye contact and heart wrenching whimpers can certainly put a damper on the family bonding, so follow these quickie steps to prevent begging this year.
Accomplished dog trainer, Victoria Stillwell
shared her tips for a beg-free holiday with dogster.com
Dogs should ideally know the "Sit" and "Stay" commands prior to beginning. Stillwell recommends determining an invisible line away from the dining table. Walk your dog behind the line and tell him to sit. Go to the empty table and sit down (the food comes later).
Some dogs may leap up to join you at this point. If this occurs, block them with your body and calmly walk them back behind the line. Give the sit command again. Seat yourself at the table and praise the dog for remaining behind the line. Repeat this process until your dog remains sitting consistently, waiting to be released by you with the "Come" command. Avoid scolding, physically leading the dog, and showing signs of frustration.
Next comes the fun part. Once your pup has mastered the process, it's time to bring out the grub. Stillwell recommends starting with cold food because it is less tempting, and gradually working up to the hot, aromatic stuff. Some dogs will learn quickly, while others may be more persistent and stubborn. The key is to remain patient and consistent. For multi-dog households, train each pup individually before attempting the process together.
If the invisible line approach just isn't working for your dog, Stillwell has a few other tips:
Try crating him or placing him behind a baby gate. This works best for dogs who have experience being confined. Stillwell stresses that you must provide some form of entertainment during the mealtime confinement, like a Kong toy filled with a favorite treat.
Consider getting to the bottom of your dog's poor impulse control. Is he getting enough exercise? Does he have adequate mental stimulation? How often is he being fed? Dogs who eat once or twice daily may need their daily portions divided into a second or third meal to stave off hunger.
Adding additional physical activity, like an extra walk or agility training will put your dog in a calmer state of mind which will make training far easier.
Stillwell feels that any dog can be trained away from begging. Commit to ending begging and feeding from the table, and stick to it! Your dog will pick up on any deviation from the rules, so stay strong and you may just enjoy a beggar-free holiday!
H/T to Dogster, Featured Image via @dailydoseoflady