Every time we sit down to eat a meal, Holly is right there next to my husband or one of the kids. She’s constantly begging for food, and barks when she doesn’t get any, or enough. Meal time is stressful and noisy and I just want to enjoy time with my family. How do I stop this? Thank you, Jennifer
It is so irritating when you’re trying to have a conversation at dinner time, and the music in the background is the sound of your dog barking. Okay, it’s not music!!
I noticed you said Holly sits next to everyone else, but not you. Can I assume you’re the only one who doesn’t indulge the dog?
In order to get Holly to stop begging, every single person must be on the same page, and in agreement that the dog is no longer fed table scraps…period. There’s no exceptions, and no slipping her food when no one is looking. When her behaviour doesn’t change you’ll know someone isn’t listening.
Okay here’s what to do.
Decide where in the room you would prefer she be during mealtime. The next time your dog begs stand up, face her, and with your body back her up to that spot, then ask her to “stay” of “lie down.” Be prepared for Holly to follow you back to the table as soon as you walk away, but that’s okay. Repeat the process as many times as it takes for her to learn where her place is at meal times.
It will disrupt you, and you may get annoyed if you have to keep doing it, but as long as you are consistent she will learn. You may be pleasantly surprised it doesn’t take her long at all!
For extra motivation, why not give her a frozen treat in a Kong or a favourite toy to play with. It will be more effective if it’s something she gets only during this training.