Dog Begging: Got a Begger? Here’s My Tip!

by Melissa R. on December 30, 2010

Mocca loves her Linkables toy!

Mocca loves her Linkables toy!

Mocca, my 11 year old Border Collie, LOVES food. Love may not even be a strong enough word. She obsesses over it, licks the floor clean nightly, and is constantly seeking out crumbs that may have made their way to a far corner of any room. Her being so food motivated is GREAT for training though, and has made it easy for me to teach Mocca a wide array of tricks, and not-to-mention, excel at Agility.

However, her love of food is not so helpful when it comes to us eating dinner. My dog would prefer to be seated directly beside me, or any other person at the table, nosing whoever is next in line for food, begging her little heart out. We do not care for this behavior, and struggled for some time to figure out how to conquer it. Finally we fell onto the solution: give Mocca something BETTER than food to do while we are eating!

Now, before dinner starts, I prepare Mocca a treat of her own. Most often I stuff her favorite Linkables toy with treats (we use the elbow), and top it off with a little peanut butter. I stick it in the freezer for awhile too, so the peanut butter is more difficult to lick out. Then when it is time for dinner, I get the toy out of the freezer. Usually now Mocca is already seated in her bed, waiting anxiously for her treat! She then proceeds to work at this while we eat dinner, leaving us in peace.

What a good girl!

What a good girl!

Occasionally, instead of her Linkables toy, I simply have her lay in her bed, and treat her periodically through dinner. This also reinforces the behavior of staying away while we eat in a positive way. It sure is funny to see Mocca take off double-time for her bed when she senses dinner is the air!

In the end, it’s all about giving your dog a positive alternative to the unwanted behavior. While this works for my dog, it might not work for some other dog – but surely there is something you could work out with your dog. Good luck, and remember table scraps can be very unhealthy for pets. Keep to low fat dog treats instead!


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About the author: Melissa is a devoted pet owner with several cats: Kai, Cirrhi & Ritter; and the newest addition, Emme a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Melissa is an avid dog agility enthusiast, and hopes her new pup will someday be an agility champion! She is a Graphic Designer and Project Coordinator for the DrsFosterSmith.com and LiveAquaria.com websites. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Michigan State University and is a lifelong pet lover and owner. See more articles by Melissa R.

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