I was an initial Home Dog Training session in Alpharetta last week for a new client and his Weimaraner named Ruby. She was a very intelligent dog and my client seemed to “give into her” a great deal. She liked to jump, beg, and always be first at the front door to “greet” guests. After I explained about being the boss to my client, he understood what he had to do and Ruby began to obey his wishes pretty quickly. As we were finishing up, his daughter came in and began to make some lunch in the kitchen. She made a sandwich, placed it on a plate, and sat down at the kitchen table to eat it. Ruby immediately went over and began begging for a bite. My client then said “Oops, I forgot to mention that. Can you help getting Ruby not to beg at the table?”
I first asked my client if they fed Ruby scraps from the table or gave her goodies when she “asked for them” from the sofa, etc. He said that they did. He said that didn’t bother him. He just didn’t want her annoying them when they were having a meal.
That, I told my client, was the beginning of the problem. He was sending mixed signals to Ruby. Sometimes it was OK to ask for food and she would get the food. Other times it was not OK to ask for food and they would get mad at her. They were assuming that she could understand the difference in the multiple situations and then act accordingly. Ruby cannot do this and only became confused.
My client had to first understand that he couldn’t feed Ruby from the table or from the sofa at all. The only place he could feed Ruby was from her dog bowl. He needed to put the food or goodies in the dog bowl and place it down in the normal place they feed Ruby. If she begins to jump or beg, that indicates that she is demanding the food. In that instance, they need to correct her until she is calm and focused. Then, and only then, can they place the dog bowl on the floor and allow her to have the food that they have given her.
Once they have corrected their mistake of sending Ruby mixed signals of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable regarding food, they can move on to any remaining begging issues. The best way to fix continued begging issues is to set up a “Don’t bother me while I am eating at the table” exercise. I told my client to do the following:
- Make up a plate of food with things like cheese and luncheon meats. All dogs love these things and they give off a nice smell to entice them.
- Sit down at the dinner table with the plate and begin to pretend that he is actually having dinner.
- Create an invisible boundary around the table where Ruby cannot encroach while he is at the table with the food.
- If Ruby approaches and starts to cross the boundary, my client must immediately stand up to show his dominance and dislike towards Ruby’s action. If Ruby continues to approach, he should vocalize a low, stern “No”.
- If Ruby is still approaching, he needs to ramp it up with a passive physical action. I suggest a squirt of water or shaking a plastic bottle with some pennies.
- This should get Ruby to stop and focus on him.
- He can now, slowly, sit down.
- If Ruby starts to approach, he needs to repeat standing and add his vocalization and passive physical action.
- He now can continue to have his “pretend dinner” while Ruby stays back.
- This entire exercise should be repeated two or three times a day. It will take about two weeks of repetitive consistency for Ruby to fully understand his new rule of “Don’t bug us at the table”.
Please call us at (770) 718-7704 it you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Alpharetta Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Alpharetta Georgia.