Why Does My Dog Like Table Food?

Dogs are pack animals and as the owner, you are the leader of the pack. When a dog sees a pack member doing something, they want to do the same. Hence, if a dog sees you eating food, they go to you and ask you for some, just as they would in the wild.

Additionally, table food tastes good to them, just as it does to us. The difference is that what we are eating may not be as healthful for them as their dog food. Unlike cats, dogs are not carnivores—they are omnivores like we are. Hence, a dog food that is well balanced and well rounded is very important to their health.

Lastly, dogs form habits, just as we do. So, if you are giving them table food they learn that the table is a location from which they can obtain food and they will continue to ask for it there until you teach them otherwise. There are times when I will give my dog some scraps, but I always make sure it’s under my circumstances, and not his. I will never feed a dog while I am eating (which teaches him to beg). I will either feed him while cooking (which can still be a bad habit…your dog might be begging every time you cook) or after mostly when I’m done eating and the table is cleared off. I will purposely put the food in his dish, so he knows he will not get it while I’m preparing food or cleaning up and will look for it near his food dish.

One way to prevent begging at the dinner table (or at any meal for that matter) is to have your dog sit or lay down outside of the eating area. And be aware of how tricky the can be. While you are distracted with eating, a dog will frequently crawl like a U.S. Marine under barbed wire to get under the table where the crumbs drop. Be aware of where your dog is, and give a “NO” command followed with an “OUT” command (or “DOWN” or whatever you want him to do)  if you find him slobbering under your chair waiting for a strand of spaghetti to fall.

Don’t let your pooch be annoying. This is especially critical when you have company over. Nothing worse than having your annoyed in-laws even more annoyed because Rover won’t stop drooling at the feet during dinner.

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