The sight of a dog sitting up and begging at the table is undoubtedly a guilt-inducing one. Your pet might look adorable as he tries to get your attention for a bite, but giving him what he wants can lead to negative results in the long run -- perhaps annoyed dinner guests and a spoiled, overweight doggie.
Meaning of Sitting Up and Begging
Your dog sitting up and begging for food by your feet is a pretty straightforward thing. The little guy sees food. He smells food -- delicious, yummy food. He even sees you putting some of it into your mouth, and even looking like you're enjoying the process. By sitting up, your dog is attempting to get into your field of vision and get your attention so that he can enjoy a piece of the action -- in the form of beef bourguignon or chicken cacciatore. Since your pooch is naturally used to your feeding him, his approach to begging probably is something like "Why not?"
Indications of Begging
Apart from sitting up, dogs make their begging intentions clear in a variety of ways. He might gaze at you with longing, limpid dark eyes -- tough to ignore. He might leap forward to food if he ever sees it getting any closer to him -- think a lone pork chop dangling off your fork as you hold it. He might even get a little tactile with you, touching your hands and legs as a way of saying "I want some of that right now. Please don't ignore me!"
Begging is problematic not just because it might be a nuisance to you or anyone else at the table. It also can be extremely dangerous and risky for your precious dog's health and well-being. Table food can contribute to obesity in canines, and in many situations can be downright poisonous to them. One specific example is garlic, although there are many others. While innocuous and harmless to human beings, garlic is toxic to your furry buddies. Table food can also bring upon other hazards like choking, whether on chicken drumsticks or cobs of corn.
Discouraging Begging Behaviors
If you're unhappy with your pooch's begging habit, you can discourage it in a handful of ways. It can be as easy as never succumbing to the pressure and giving your pet a bite. If your dog learns that the begging is fruitless, he might just tire of it sooner rather than later. It also can be as easy as making sure your dog always eats right before you do. If his belly is full, the idea of eating again might not be as alluring. Also make sure that everyone else in your household is aware of the "no table scraps for Spot" rule. If even a single person continues to treat your begging cutie, the behavior won't end.
- ASPCA Complete Guide to Dogs; Sheldon L. Gerstenfeld
- The Dog Trainer's Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Pet; Jolanta Benal
- ASPCA: Begging at the Table
- ASPCA: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets