puppy looking at dessert

We all want what is best for our dog. We spoil and love on our pups as if they were our child, and many of us are guilty of encouraging bad behavior in the process. Feeding your pup from the table is a common occurrence, but each time it reinforces improper behavior and confuses your dog what is ok and not. Don’t feel bad – we know it’s hard to say “no” to those cute, slobbery faces. You can break these bad behaviors with these simple tips and tricks:

Don’t feed from the table

By feeding your pup from the table, you are encouraging bad behavior and will never be left alone while enjoying a meal. Your dog knows there are goodies where you sit, and will instinctively go where they have been given treats before. Discourage others from feeding scraps from the table and reserve them for their bowl or feed time. Be careful: some human food can actually be dangerous for pups!

Teach your dog a “Go to Bed” command

Teach your dog to go to move away from the table when you say. Start by putting them on a leash and leading them to their bed. Once they are fully on the bed, say “Bed” to reinforce that behavior and then reward with a treat. Keep your dog on the bed until you release them with an “OK.” This may take several attempts and if your dog tries to leave before you say “OK,” say “No”, gently lead them back to their bed and start again. Slowly build up the amount of time you tell your dog to stay on their bed until they are finally comfortable laying in bed for extended period of time on or off the leash. Once they learn this command, you can send them to bed while you are eating your dinner. Don’t forget to reward them with a pet or a treat when they are away from the table!

Give the dog a bone

Give your dog a treat or an interactive toy that they only get when you are eating. With repetition, they will learn that this toy/treat is better than your dinner and will entertain themself away from the table.

-Written by Colleen Demling, Dogtopia’s Canine Behaviorist. With over 30,000 hours and 15 years of HANDS ON dog training experience, Colleen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behaviorist. She is a frequent contributor to local and national media including Yahoo, The Huffington Post, Woman’s Day and many more. Colleen was a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year by Women in the Pet Industry Network. She was also named a 2015 Woman of Influence and one of the Top 40 Under 40 by Pet Age Magazine. Learn more: https://www.dogtopia.com/meet-our-experts/