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Teaching Your Dog Table Manners

 by yunus on 02 Nov 2016 |
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No one wants a dog that jumps on guests or begs during a dinner party, or that growls at other pets during his own meals. Teaching our canine companions mealtime manners is important, then, both during our meals and their own.
 
Dogs are scavengers by nature, so vying for food comes easily to them. Having a pet that begs, whines or whimpers while you’re eating is exasperating, however, and can be embarrassing when you have guests over for dinner. Fortunately, teaching Fido to respect your space during mealtime is simple with some consistent training. Start by having him go to his sleeping area or a favourite spot, and then give your dog a command such as “go to your spot” with a treat. Soon, he’ll start associating the command with that space and a tasty reward. Once you’ve mastered this step, you can add the “stay” command, starting from just a few feet away from his spot and slowly working your way backwards. Over time, you will be able to give the command and leave the room entirely, freeing you to enjoy your meal without a barrage of begging. If your dog does approach the table after you’ve told him to “stay,” lead him back to his spot as many times as necessary to get him to stay put. After dinner, be sure to reward your pet for staying in place with plenty of praise and a treat.
 
Mealtime manners aren’t limited to your own spreads, however, and should also be part of your dog’s own dining routine. Growling at another dog, or you, is unacceptable and you need to teach your pet to respect those around him during dinner. The solution is simple: If your dog misbehaves by growling, fighting or guarding his food, simply remove his dish. Rather than letting Fido go hungry, however, replace his bowl with your hand. Hand feeding doesn’t just strengthen your dog’s understanding that his food comes from you, but also reinforces the idea of mealtime as a positive experience. After a few rounds of hand feeding, trying giving your pet his food dish back. If he’s still acting out, take the dish away again and try hand feeding him for a longer period before giving the bowl back. If, however, your pet’s bad behaviour has vanished, you can reinforce mealtime as a positive experience by slipping him an extra treat in his food bowl.
 
Remember, establishing a routine is key to teaching your dog mealtime manners. Serve his food at the same time each day so he learns to distinguish his dinnertime from your own. Never give in to begging, as this will only reinforce bad behaviour. Do reward good behaviour, though, with plenty of treats and praise.

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