At first, your dog begging for food can seem like a cute behavior for any pet owner. As your canine gazes at you with those eyes that can be seen a mile long, it just seems to melt our hearts. However, what was once a lovely sign of your attention can quickly become annoying or even distracting over time.

For that reason, it’s essential to teach your dog how to curb that behavior when it’s not getting exactly what they want. Yes, begging is an entirely normal thing that most dogs do at one time or another. However, when it starts to disrupt the day, that’s a signal that it’s gotten out of control. If you’ve ever wondered, “Why does my dog beg for food,” this guide will provide you with real solutions to fix the problem.

Why does my dog beg for food?

To understand why your dog begs for food, we first must understand the origin of canine behavior. Essentially, any dog that begs is trying to communicate with its owner.

So, whether they are staring at you, bumping your hand a little bit, or even barking incessantly, they are doing it for a specific reason. Also, you may notice that these typical behaviors are accompanied by whines that never seem to end. 

Even if you think of a dog’s ancestors, wolves, you will discover that whining was a primary way to communicate with other pack members. When that specific behavior occurred, they were trying to get attention from a mother.

It could have also been done as a way to show submissive behavior to the more dominant leader. Begging or whining in wolves, just like your dog, expresses emotions of frustration or nervousness.

Unfortunately, we have to realize that begging is an innate behavior in dogs that we need to manage. Dogs can quickly learn that they only need to gaze into your eyes or find another way to get your attention until you finally give in to what they want ( which is usually a treat!).

However, all hope isn’t lost. This behavior is something all pet owners can learn to subside- but it will take lots of patience, hard work, and above all, consistency.

Why is my dog begging for food suddenly?

Sometimes, even if you’ve done everything right, you could notice a sudden change in your dog’s behavior. One day out of the blue, they could start begging for food or increase the frequency more than they had previously. But why the sudden change? There could be several reasons this might be happening that owners should be aware of.

If the home environment has changed, we call that a psychological response. Some examples could include adding another pet to the home, you changed residences, or you might have had your teenagers move out. As a result, your pet can exhibit signs of insecurity, triggering this behavior you’re not used to. Especially with the addition of another pet, your dog can feel like its food source is threatened.

The new behavior of begging for food doesn’t always mean there is a change in the dog’s environment. You should expect their habits to change throughout your pet’s life, and we just have to adapt to them.

The tendency to beg can intensify as dogs age, or they start to develop other health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or it could even be a reaction to the medication they’re currently taking. More importantly, it’s important to have patience and stay consistent with handing out food or treats. As we’ll discover, you’ll have to use specific strategies to keep this habit under control. 

Why is my dog begging for food after eating?

Surprisingly, the reason our dogs beg for food after eating is relatively straightforward. Just like humans, nearly any dog will overeat if you allow it to. Most dogs you’ve interacted with throughout your life all have one thing in common- they love food! You may already believe that most dogs are ravenous canines that can’t seem ever to get full. However, additional begging, even after a full meal, is a learned behavior. 

The vicious cycle begins because you’re trying to make your dog happy, but you may be doing more harm than good. When we make ourselves or someone else happy, it releases endorphins in the brain. That brain function can become incredibly difficult to overcome.

Even if a dog has eaten, many of them will continue to eat at the point of getting sick if you allow them to. As you’re having dinner, you still have to monitor how much food you’re giving them. A “little scraps” here and there can quickly add up to the amount of food your dog is eating. 

How do I get my dog to stop begging for food?

The bottom line is, dogs beg because they want food. Remember, they’re not trying to get on your nerves. It’s instinctive behavior. However, we can’t expect our dogs to behave the way we desire if we don’t have consistency.

Although they are just animals, any dog responds much better with routines and instilling daily practices. For instance, you can’t deny your dog one day and then decide the following day that you’ll let everyone in the house give it a treat. Mixed signals with your pet are a recipe for disaster. Here are a few things you can try.

Ignoring your dog is the easiest method to try but the hardest to do with perfection. Yes, you’ll have to go cold turkey if you want to see real change. Ignore when they are whining, pawing at you, or even if they are barking. To make sure you don’t give in, make sure you don’t have any eye contact with your pet.

Even the slightest bit of attention can allow them to win you over. Although it’s hard, remember more food doesn’t equal more love. By keeping your dog at a healthy weight, you’re helping them live a longer and healthier life.

Secondly, stick to an established schedule of when your dog eats and receives treats. For instance, you have the measured food they need to eat for breakfast and dinner and set times they get goodies. No matter how much they beg, they shouldn’t get any additional snacks or treats.

When you stay on a routine, they will know when to expect a reward. Some good times are when you come home from work or after you’ve taken them for a walk. Another way, which takes a lot of practice, is to have a specific spot for your pooch to hang out when you’re having dinner.

It should also be a location where they can play with chew toys, or you may even want them to eat their dinner there too. Finally, if your dog comes to the table, redirect him calmly. Expect this process to take several weeks until they have mastered it.

Contrary to what you may think, your dog isn’t trying to drive you nuts. However, at some point in time in their lives, they will probably beg for food. When this behavior becomes more of a problem, use these strategies to handle it. You’ll have a much more enjoyable time when you’re eating dinner in peace.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.