The dreaded puppy-dog eyes at dinner: How to get your dog to stop begging


Jade Poole from I write words

puppy-dog eyes at dinner

We all know the feeling… Sitting down to enjoy the delicious meal you just made but you can’t shake the feeling that you’re being watched. And just as you look over, you find your pooch giving you the look, you know the one. Those dreaded puppy-dog eyes! So, how do you stop your dog from begging?

There is nothing worse than sitting down at mealtimes and being met with a furry beggar at your feet. It’s so difficult to resist the urge to give your pooch a little nibble, and the begging can be slightly embarrassing when you have guests over.

Unfortunately, sharing your meals with your pup will keep reinforcing this unwanted behaviour and it can also lead to tummy troubles or even health problems like canine obesity. It’s time to nip the begging in the bud and here are some simple ways you can do it!

4 ways to get your dog to stop begging

1. Only feed them in their own bowl - away from the table

It’s important to always feed your dog their meals or any snacks in their own food bowl. You can give them ‘human food’ (if you’ve made sure it isn’t harmful to your pup), but it’s important to either include it in one of their regular meals or as a snack.

Find out: Is chocolate really bad for dogs?

Make sure to always give it to them in their own food bowl and never immediately after you eat (sometimes giving them a snack or meal before you eat is a better idea). Otherwise, your furry companion will start expecting you to share your meals with them every time (sneaky little pooch!).

You could also save the food you’re planning on sharing with them for a while after you’ve eaten to reward them for not begging or staying seated while you ate your meal. This is a great way to train your dog!

Explore: 5 yummy treats to feed your fur baby

2. Your kitchen should be a no-go zone while cooking

If your dog is under your feet or your shadow in the kitchen, block the kitchen access with a baby gate to prevent them from hunting for food or put them outside for a little bit of playtime while you’re cooking.

It can be dangerous to have your pup roaming around the kitchen where there are knives that can be dropped or boiling food that can be spilt - accidents happen!

It can also be frustrating trying to feed your baby in the kitchen when your pup is standing near the highchair, with their mouth open and drooling. Put your dog in another room, outside, in their crate or behind a baby gate while your baby eats in peace.

Check this out: 4 tail-wag worthy remedies for your doggo’s upset stomach!

Make sure to clean up anything that may have dropped on the floor while cooking, before letting your dog join you in the kitchen again.

3. Ignore, ignore, ignore

We know it’s not easy. Your pooch is your fur baby, you don’t want to ignore them while they whine or yelp.

The best thing to do when your dog starts barking, whining, or pawing for food is to completely ignore them though. Don’t look at them, talk to them, or respond at all (as difficult as that may sound, it really is for the best).

4. Be consistent

Everything you’re trying to do will pay off if you keep at it!

After a while, your dog will begin to realise that their old tactics of trying to get food don’t work. This will then lead them to stop begging.

The key is to be patient and consistent. Your pup may continue to find new and creative ways of trying to get you to share your food. Don’t worry, they’re just super clever and finding new ways of getting your attention, stick to your guns.

Stay strong and don’t give in. You won’t hurt their feelings and they know you still love them. You are just letting them know that they can’t demand food from you. Just like with our children, it’s vital to have clear boundaries with our dogs and not give in to their demands as they beg for food.

Foods you can share with your pup

Just like us, food can get boring for your pup and most dogs enjoy a little variety in their food.

There are some safe and healthy options you can add to their food to keep things interesting. Foods like roasted sweet potatoes, raw broccoli or carrots are a special treat. If your dog isn’t a fan of the veggies, they may want something sweeter like bananas or blueberries.

All dogs are different and they prefer different textures. Some pooches prefer crunchy, others would prefer something steamed or roasted.

Make sure that you don’t give them anything seasoned, as it could be harmful.

Read: 9 healthy human foods for precious pooches

Are you encouraging your dog to beg without realising it?

We know we’ve just given you the lowdown on how to stop them from begging but you also need to make sure you aren’t instigating the begging too!

You could be the reason your dog is begging so much by doing the following:

  1. Giving them food directly from your plate after you finish eating dinner.
  2. Letting them lick your bowl clean after you’ve eaten.
  3. Feeding them some of your food as you are cooking or even while you’re eating.
  4. Letting your kids sneak food to them while they are eating.
  5. Letting them eat any food that falls off your plate or the counter

These are just a few common mistakes that you could be making which contributes towards your dog begging while you eat or hovering by the dinner table when you have guests over.

We know your pup is your fur-baby and you want to spoil them as much as you can, remember there is a wrong way to do it! Spoilt pooches can have frustrating behavioural problems and no one wants that.


Yours in affordable pet insurance,

The Oneplan Team

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