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Curbing Canine Begging Behavior

(credit:  Noel Celis/Getty Images)

(credit: Noel Celis/Getty Images)

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By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - If you share your home with your canine best friend, you may be familiar with this scenario: trying to resist those big pleading eyes and that single paw gently tapping at your leg as you’re trying to eat at the dinner table. If you share your home with your canine best friend, you may be familiar with this scenario: trying to resist those big pleading eyes and that single paw gently tapping at your leg as you’re trying to eat at the dinner table. It’s a familiar sight as the family dog goes around the dinner table looking for a quick treat. But do your dog a favor and resist for a couple of reasons.

First, many types of “people food” can be extremely unhealthy for dogs and secondly, this can cause future behavioral problems.

As long as your dog is well fed, of course, and the diet is well balanced on a daily basis, and as long as your dog’s nutritional needs are met daily along with access to fresh water at all times, the begging behavior can just be an attention seeking one and shouldn’t be encouraged.

Be aware that any activity that is routinely rewarded whether consistently or even just once in a while, and even by a guest in your home, is going to be reinforced in your dog’s mind. Let’s face it, if something works, whether it is appropriate or not, that same behavior is going to be repeated for a positive reward. So it’s not fair to set your dog up to fail.

Refocus his/her attention. Have your dog go to his/her spot close by. Start by having your dog go into a sit position, and eventually into a down/stay, then praise and treat. Be patient, stay positive and stay consistent and reward the good behavior.

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