3 Guides To Get Your Dog To Stop Begging For Food
Step 20 of 33 in the Dogly Manners Channel
with Cory & Jane of Dogly

It can be really frustrating when your dog begs or steals human food constantly.

Dogs beg for food because they know it's a way to get what they want. Which makes sense, right? They also counter surf because it's easy. Big puppy dog eyes begging at the dinner table can be cute at first, but once a dog learns begging behavior it can be difficult to get them to stop.

If you have a food stealing or dog begging problem, the positive reinforcement dog trainers in the Manners Channel on Dogly are here to help.

There are 3 guides in Food Manners to help train your dog not to beg or steal food, as well as strategies for preventing these behaviors in the first place. If you're ready to put an end to your dog's begging and food stealing, dive into an overview of each guide below so you can choose which training you want to get started with.

Here's an overview of the 3 training guides for dog owners with a food stealing or begging dog


#1 Food Manners Guide: Teach your dog to not steal food with this game

Food is super tempting. For both humans and dogs. If your dog tends to steal food, you're not alone. Dogs stealing food is a very common behavior problem, but it's also a behavior that can be changed with training.

In the full guide linked here, you'll learn 3 steps including 1 game to help your begging dog to stop stealing food. Below is the overview:

  1. Manage your environment to make it hard for your dog to steal food. In other words, make it easy for your dog to have good behavior by putting food away or using a baby gate to keep dogs in a separate room away from the dinner table.
  2. Teach your dog this game to make yourself more interesting than stealing food. The game is called "It's Yer Choice" and it's broken down into 8 steps in the full guide linked here. The point of this game is to get your dog to give you eye contact before attempting to steal food so you give your dog the food as a reward instead of needing to steal it.
  3. Don't get greedy with your training! Have patience, practice in short training intervals, and remember to reward your dog for the smallest movement in the right non-food stealing direction.

This game can be a bit confusing so head over to the full guide for a video Dogly Training Advocate Tressa Fessenden-McKenzie has shared to show you how to do it. When you're ready, let's move on to the next guide in Food Manners to take the game you just learned and start generalizing it to real life situations.


#2 Food Manners Guide: Teach your food begging dog to not steal food in real life situations

If you haven't taught your dog the game in the previous guide yet, go back and do that now. If you have, and your dog is consistently giving you eye contact when shown a handful of dog food, you're ready to start generalizing this behavior to new situations and environments. Woohoo!

Here's an overview of the 3 steps to teach your dog how to generalize this behavior and stop begging or stealing food in different environments. Click here to jump to the full guide.

  1. Change the dog food item you're presenting your dog. We don't want your dog to get in the habit of just giving you eye contact when your dog sees a handful of dog food! Practice the game again but this time with a higher value treat.
  2. Change how the treat is presented. Not stealing or begging for food from your hand is great but does the same apply to food on the dinner table? Go to the full guide here to learn how to transition from food in your hand to food on the kitchen counter or dinner table.
  3. Put all of the pieces together. Step 1 and 2 initially should be practiced separately. Now try them together.

There you have it! You've built the foundation to stop your dog's begging and/or food stealing, transitioned it to real life situations, and are well on your way to having a dog you don't have to constantly worry about eating your next meal!

The almost-final piece to teaching your dog to stop begging is something called "stationing." If you don't know what that is, continue on to the overview of the next guide below. This is a game changer to help you stay strong against those puppy eyes and stop your dog from begging for food.


#3 Food Manners Guide: Teach your dog "stationing" to stop your dog's begging behavior

Dogs beg. It's a fact of life and not something you should ever feel guilty about or punish your dog for doing. You can though teach your dog begging for food doesn't give the reward they were hoping for but learning a behavior called "stationing" does.

Here's an overview of the 4 tips to teach your dog "stationing." To get started teaching this behavior and stop your dog from begging, go to the full guide linked here.

  1. What even is "stationing?" Stationing is teaching your dog or puppy to go to a designated spot on cue. This is very similar to the "go to bed/mat" training in Basic Manners linked here. Check it out if your pup doesn't have a "go to bed/mat" cue yet.
  2. Learn how to teach your dog or puppy "stationing" instead of letting them beg for food. There are 10 steps to teach your pet this behavior in the full guide linked here.
  3. Know when to use "stationing." The best time to get your dog in a "station" is when you're eating a meal but before your dog begs. Completely ignore your dog as best as possible and reward for not begging. Your pup may only last a few minutes and that's ok! Have patience and keep practicing.
  4. Practice "stationing" in real life. Jump to the full guide here to watch "stationing" in action. Invite people over. Send your dogs to their "station" and ignore those sad eyes while you reward your dog for letting you eat in peace!

You now know how to station your dog or puppy and stop the food begging for good. Once your pup knows begging doesn't work anymore but going to their "station" does, they will start racing to their "station" to be rewarded. Okay, racing may be an overstatement but at least you won't have eyes watching you from under the table anymore.

And that's it! If you've gone through all of the guides in Food Manners here on Dogly you now have a dog who doesn't beg or steal food and would rather be rewarded for going to his/her "station." Congrats! Enjoy your dinner time in peace without a dog begging at your feet.

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Continue your training in the Manners Channel here on Dogly

Now that you've gotten through all of the Food Manners training guides, continue your training in the Manners Channel here on Dogly. The Dogly Training Advocates have created guides for you on Basic Manners, Public Manners, or even Travel Manners.

If you're looking for more tips to teach your dog to go to bed or mat, to stay, or not jump on people as they come in your home, check out the Manners Channel.

And if you have any questions, the Advocates are always happy to help. Ask them anything in the Community discussion or if you'd like more personalized help, you can choose who you'd like to work with you one-on-one.

You shouldn't go through stuff alone with your dog, so please reach out and we will try our best to help!

Cory & Jane of Dogly

Dogly started with our own dogs and quickly became about yours. We want our dogs to live long and we want them to live well, to go where we go and do more together with us. That’s why we created Dogly. To help you live well with your dog.