By Nan Talleno
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s so hard 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 your four-legged best friend prances around the dinner table looking for a quick treat. But know that as long as your dog is well fed, and that the diet is well-balanced on a daily basis, and as long as the your dog’s nutritional needs are met daily along with access to fresh water at all times, the begging behavior can be strictly an attention seeking one and shouldn’t be encouraged.
Be aware that any activity that is routinely rewarded even just once in a while, and even by a guest or two in your home, this activity is going to be reinforced in your dog’s mind.
Let’s face it, if something works, whether it’s appropriate or not, that same behavior is going to be repeated for a positive reward. So it’s certainly not fair to set your dog up to fail. Refocus his/her attention. Have your dog go to his/her comfortable retreat spot close by. Make it accessible with inviting components such as special toys etc. Start by having your dog go into a sit position, and eventually into a down and finally an elongated stay, then praise and treat.
Be patient, stay positive and stay consistent and reward the positive behavior.