How to Stop Your Dog From Begging at the Table

What happens when you walk into a house and encounter the delicious aroma of your favorite home-cooked meal or freshly baked cookies? You probably gravitate toward the kitchen without even thinking about it, especially if you're hungry. Because most dogs enjoy the same kinds of foods that we do, it's not surprising that they're drawn to good smells, too. However, many pet parents don't like it when they sit down at the table to eat and find themselves under the intense scrutiny of their hopeful, drooling dogs.

You can't really blame your dog for begging at the table. But if you'd like to change her behavior, you can do so by using one or both of the following tactics:

  1. Prevent begging by controlling your dog's access to the table.
  2. Teach your dog to do something else instead, such as lying down and staying on a mat or bed.

Prevent the Problem

Sometimes it's easiest to solve a problem by preventing it from happening. If you'd rather your dog leave you alone while you eat, you can use a baby gate to confine her to another room when you sit down for a meal. Or, if your dog is crate trained, you can put her in her crate while you eat. (Please see our article on Weekend Crate Training to learn how to teach your dog to happily relax in a crate.) To keep her busy and quiet, try giving your dog a chew bone, her dinner or a KONG® toy stuffed with something delicious. (Please see our article on How to Stuff a KONG Toy to learn more about using food puzzle toys.)

If you'd like your dog to stay in the same room with you but refrain from loitering right next to the table or drooling on your shoes, you can use a tether to keep her in her own space. Attach a short leash or tether (four- to six-feet long) to a heavy piece of furniture or an eye-hook in the baseboard. (You can buy a length of chew-proof plastic-coated wire with a clip on each end at most pet stores.) Put a soft bed or mat next to the tether. Before sitting down to eat, lead your dog to her comfy spot, and attach the leash or tether to her collar. Then give her something to chew or a stuffed KONG. After you finish your meal, you can release her from the tether. As long as you give your dog a tasty treat of her own to work on while you eat, she'll enjoy settling in her special spot during mealtimes. (A word of caution: Do not leave your dog unattended while she's tethered. She could get tangled in the tether and injure herself.)