How To Teach Your Dog Manners Around Mealtimes

How To Teach Your Dog Manners Around Mealtimes

It can seem difficult to teach your dog some manners around human food. If you want to know how to train your puppy not to beg, jump up on the dinner table and leave food alone, keep reading this blog post.

How do I keep my puppy off the table?

The easiest way is to prevent your puppy from jumping up on the dinner table by simply putting him in his crate or pen. However, if you have small children, you must be careful to keep your puppy off the table as well.

Puppies and dogs will eat whatever is placed in front of them. As well as being dangerous, it also wastes valuable time, is frustrating and annoying.

For table jumpers, there are other things that you can do.

Teach your dog “no” or “leave it”. Some people don’t believe that you should teach your dog any negative words. I disagree. Teaching them “No” is a universal command and is valuable. Of course, showing them what they should be doing after you say,”no” is the best approach.

Giving your dog its favorite toy or chew toy is another great way of keeping your pooch occupied while you have dinner at the table with the people in the family.

You can also feed your dog his food near the table on the floor to keep your puppy busy. Some trainers teach that you should eat first and then feed your dog to show them that you are higher up in the pack than they are. I feed my dogs at the same time that I eat, though, and my dogs still know that I am the boss around here. When they would come and stare at me for my food, I ignored them. When you ignore a dog while you eat long enough, they give up the begging. But, if you give them a bit of your food, you will teach them to persevere in their begging. Please don’t do it! Make sure that your kids aren’t sneaking them any food either.

What should I do if my puppy jumps up?

This is most likely going to happen as soon as your pup sees the food and doesn’t get a chance to eat.

If your puppy accepts treats from you when he’s off the table, give them to him after you get him to sit. At this point, if he stays seated, give him a treat. If not, just put him back into his crate. With this approach, it’s important to use positive reinforcement.

If you’re not sure how to keep your puppy from jumping up on the table, and the above is not working, one exercise you can do is put your puppy in his crate while you eat dinner. Do not use the crate as punishment. The crate is his happy place. Please give him a chew or toy to entertain himself while you have a peaceful meal.

Keep repeating this exercise until your puppy or dog learns. Consistency and practice is critical.

How do I keep my dog from stealing food?

Although it can be cute when your puppy tries to steal food, teaching them early that this is unacceptable will save you a lot of headaches.

I once had a puppy that stole a sausage off of a hot grill while I was at work, and my then-husband was home grilling. My husband at the time was mad and yelled at her. She was so afraid that she ran right into a support beam for our patio at full speed and gave herself a concussion. When I got home, the poor puppy had one pupil dilated and the other was normal. So, we made a trip to the emergency vet where her concussion was confirmed. It would have been easier and safer to teach her “leave it” — which we taught her very shortly after this incident. Yelling at the dog was not a good choice either.

The good news is, you can train them to not steal food if you’re consistent and work with small portions of high quality treats.

Teaching Leave It

This is a simple thing to teach a dog. Hold a treat in your hand so the dog can see it. Have more treats in your other hand or nearby in a pocket. Show the dog the treat. When they go for it, say “leave it” and close your hand. When they stop trying to get it out of your hand, wait for them to look at you, and then give them the treat from the other hand or pocket. When they no longer try to get the treat out of your hand, put the treat on the floor and say, “leave it.” If they try to get it, cover it with your hand and wait for them to look at you. When they look at you, then give them the other treat. Repeat until they don’t try to get anything when you say “leave it.”

As soon as you give these rewards, the dog will start looking forward to these training sessions as well.

Now, whenever he does anything nice for you and looks at you, reward him with a treat; if he continues to do things right after being praised, reward again! You will phase out treats as they learn. But, in the beginning, treats speed up training.

How should I discipline my puppy?

It’s important to use positive reinforcement as soon as they do something right. If your puppy is jumping up on the dinner table and stealing food, you should immediately walk over to him and stand next to him.

Then, tell him ‘Off!’ or ‘No’ if he continues to act this way. If he does stop, give him a treat as praise. This way, he will associate that what he did was right and it is acceptable behavior. Try to set your dog up for success. Minimizing their opportunities for naughtiness is more effective than scolding or discipline. Teach them the behavior that you want and reward them for good behavior. If they do not listen, remove them from the area. Teach them to go to their “place; this can be a mat, crate, or dog bed. By teaching them to go to their place and staying there until released, you can use this command not only when you eat but it also comes in handy when you have company. At my house, the command is “go to your room” when I say this, my dog goes to her crate and stays there. It always makes guests laugh when I say that, and she leaves for the bedroom where her crate is.

The Bottom Line

When you want to train your puppy not to jump up on the dinner table and leave your food alone, it’s important to use positive reinforcement.

Make sure your puppy is getting a lot of attention from you throughout the day, and as soon as he does something good, give him a treat.

Now, after your dog has learned to sit or stay and keeps doing it and he’s not stealing food, you can move him back closer to the table.




Dog Walker, Nature lover, mom and dog woman living life to it’s fullest.

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Mry Contreras

Mry Contreras

Dog Walker, Nature lover, mom and dog woman living life to it’s fullest.

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