Dog Manners: They're What's for Dinner

Think it's impossible to have a well-behaved dog around the dinner table? Think again! This article is full of dog behavior tips that will help you and your family share a more peaceful meal together.

To you, dinnertime is an opportunity to relax and catch up on the day's activities with family and friends. But for your dog, dinnertime is a chance to beg and whine until he receives some of what you're having (which, unless it's dog food, probably isn't too healthy for him). Yes, we know, it's hard to deny those heart-melting eyes or that guilt-inducing whimper. But if you genuinely care about the health of your dog and the sanity of your family and guests, try the following dog behavior tips and bring peace back to the dining room table.

If you strictly follow the rule never to feed your dog off the table, this will be a lot easier for you. But seeing as how your dog is an adult, you may have inadvertently raised him on some bad habits. Fear not, with persistence you can retrain your dog to behave as you want him to. After all, you ARE top dog. The first thing you need to do is stop feeding your dog from the table. Period. (This might mean your children actually eat their veggies.)

Try to synch up your dog's mealtime with yours. If he's preoccupied with a bowl full of food, he might not care to see what all the fuss is about at your table. If this doesn't work, another option is simply removing him from the kitchen while you eat. That way, he won't be tempted by the yummy smells coming from the table. Also, you won't feel as guilty for turning away his cute facial expressions, because you won't see them.

Most likely, your dog won't like being separated from the rest of the pack during dinner, so try giving him a treat before leaving him in his designated area. This area might be his crate or simply on the other side of a doggy fence. After dinner, reward him for his good behavior with another treat. Eventually, your dog will realize that he's doing the right thing and making you happy. No whining at the table? That's a treat for you!

Another way to train your dog not to beg is to sit and play a game with him. Hold a treat in your hand, but make a fist around it so he can't get at it. If your dog starts whining or nudging, stay firm and do not give him the treat. Only when he finally relaxes, sits and realizes that you are in charge should you reward him with the treat. Give him a verbal command like "take it" before opening your hand. It just reinforces the fact that your commands are meant to be followed.

Try these dog behavior tips and bring a new level of peace to the dinner table, your dog included. Once he knows his place and is resigned to the fact that people food is off limits, he won't have the stress associated with whining and rejection. Now that's food for thought