Begging, scratching and jumping can quickly turn a dinner party or family meal into a frustrating event. Many of us might become aggravated and scold dogs, but that will just result in your pup growing afraid of you, and the bad behavior might not change. Instead, the best course of action is to teach your dog the right way to behave during meal times. And it’s not just puppies that need a lesson in etiquette; adult dogs might also need a refresher course on good table manners.
Here are our top tips for teaching Fido how to behave at dinner time.
Meal times are great for practicing your “down” and “stay” commands. When it’s time to sit down for a meal, lead your dog away from the table to a spot where he can still see you and your family (so he doesn’t feel isolated) and give him commands to sit and stay in that spot. If your dog approaches the table after you’ve told him to stay, calmly lead him back to his spot—do not let him hang around the dinner table! Even if your dog persists and continues to come up to the table, simply repeat the process to show him this is something he MUST do during family meals.
Teach your dog that no means no. If your pup continues to beg by the table even after you’ve told them “no,” stand your ground and refuse the table foods he is after. Caving in and sharing your food gives your dog the impression that their begging is working. By saying no every time, you’re showing him that the food on the table is yours, regardless of how much he begs.
Every dog likes treats, so why not use them to your advantage? Giving your pup a special reward for good manners not only teaches him that bad manners won’t result in treats, it also shows him that the right behavior has tasty effects.
Dogs are creatures of habit, so having a set routine works wonders when it comes to everything from table manners to house training. Let your dog know that his food comes at certain times each day, so he learns the difference between your meal time and his. Alternatively, you could also try feeding your dog at the same times you normally eat, distracting him from your tableside with his own yummy meal.