When a pet figures out the link between begging and a food reward, you have reached a point of no return. From then on, pets might resort to begging to get what they want, despite owner exasperation and impatience. It works because they look so cute doing it (and all we want is to make them happy), but there are many reasons why owners should discourage begging. In fact, training a pet not to beg is actually better for their overall health and well-being.
It is natural to question whether your pet is getting what they need from their daily meals. If they are begging more frequently, it could be because they are actually hungry. We can help you address age-appropriate dietary concerns in order to help your pet feel full every day.
Begging is a learned behavior that works incredibly well for attention-seeking animals. While it can be endearing, it’s not something that want to last for long, especially if they are overweight or obese.
Once your pet’s nutritional needs are dialed in, you can have some certainty that they aren’t begging for food due to hunger. Training a pet not to beg can be as easy as:
- Providing healthy distractions, such as enjoyable walks outside or play time
- Not rewarding good behavior with food
- Redirecting begging behavior with other commands
- Maintaining consistency
Positive reinforcement training rewards pets for the behaviors you want them to repeat. It involves ignoring bad or unwanted behaviors, and centers on immediate praise or affection. Don’t reward begging with a tasty food treat; this will only teach your pet to repeat the behavior that gets them the treat.
Training a Pet Not to Beg
It is much easier to start out this way than attempt to correct wayward behaviors. However, with time, patience, and consistency, training a pet not to beg is possible.
Be sure that all members of the household are in the loop regarding the no-begging policy, and keep working with your pet every day to separate them from ingrained behaviors. Do not leave human food out of counters or table surfaces for your pet to help themselves. Never offer table scraps.
Rest and Activity
Pets respond positively to structured schedules. They like being able to anticipate events that are about to happen. Training a pet not to beg for food or special treats is more manageable when pets understand that meal time is just for eating, and play/exercise time is just for mental and physical stimulation.
Training a pet not to beg can be achieved by showing your pet where they should hang out during your meal times. Crate training can go hand-in-hand with this approach, but you can also introduce the idea that you’d like your pet to remain in another room during your meals. Again, reward them with something else besides treats.
Hang In There!
In addition to taming the behavior, training a pet not to beg can reduce calories and minimize the potential for food toxicity.