no begging!


New Member
I have two mutts :) One is my two and 1/2 yo pug, stan, and the other is my 3 mo mutt, Diego. I was not able to successfully train my pug not to beg, and I would like to know how to teach him and his new brother. Currently I do not clicker train, but after many suggestions from people on here, i think i will go buy a clicker tomorrow. how would this approach work..... Say i have food and my dog is staring at me, when he turns away i click and treat? after many times of this i add a cue? and what kind of cue is ok? i always thought no begging was alright, but i now think this may be too long. Any suggestions?


Experienced Member
The best way to stop any behavior is to totally ignore it. Dogs don't do anything that has no reward or is not self rewarding (i.e. some dogs like to bark). If you turn your back, get up and walk away. If they are giving you enough space but staring, they will stop if you totally ignore them. Meaning no eye contact, no words, nothing. You can also body block away a certain distance calmly. Don't make eye contact or talk, this isn't an intimidation, just walk calmly into them and they will back up. I insist on radius around me when I eat or prepare food so I just body block them back. All of my dogs got this with one or two repetitions and seldom periodic reminders.

I block back about 5 feet. When I step back to sit and they step forward I block again and repeat until they get you are not coming over here. I don't usually ask for a down since you then need to remember to release or the dog will self release which can poison your down/stay. I do have a separate lay down that does not imply stay as the down does so I will use that sometimes. Block enough and they will stop. Once you get that wordless part down where they will stay away 80% of the time start adding a cue back-off or whatever. I now use a foot gesture-touch food to their chest and say back-off and they go away and lie down.

If you stare at the dog waiting until they look away to click you might be training a sustained interaction depending on how they generalize and your timing on the click. A click also might be stimulating or get them looking for a reward. So a clicker associated with a treat might not be the best tool to teach ignoring a human with food. Ignored behavior goes away.

This is just a personal preference of mine too but I don’t believe dogs beg. It is we humans that teach them to do certain behaviors for attention. Those cute looks and crowding we generally love and reward with pets because we think it's love, then we ask them to look to us when training. I believe we owe them a bit more dignity than to say they beg when in fact they are masterfully reading human behavior and reasoning in a way to get what they desire from us without speaking our language. We teach this "begging" behavior or they wouldn't be doing it. Now the job is figuring out what you're doing to reward the behavior and you can stop it today. Remember even negative attention is attention so a self(people) behavior analysis is important.

When you say you were able to successfully teach one dog not to do this and that it wasn't a quick easy thing I have a suggestion. Ask someone to watch you or video tape yourself eating while the dog is doing what you don't like. See what it is that you are doing that is perpetuating the behavior. The easy part is that you have total control over yourself so you can stop right away. I often eat at friends’ houses where the dogs pester the family at the table - including putting heads on the table. I just block them and they leave me alone. It can be so subtle and non-threatening that most people say HOW did you do that? Literally in a few minutes you can have a table grazing dog lying beside the table calmly leaving everyone alone with block/ignore and consistent reinforcement.

Good blocking vids on ARBI just scroll down until you find both by Patricia McConnell Teaching Stay with treats and Body Blocks. In this case you might not use treats but the block foundation is there. Also Victoria Stillwell uses this extensively on her show It's Me or the Dog.

Good luck. :dogwink:


Experienced Member
I agree that ignoring is a really good option. If the dog never gets any food by sitting near you, and doesn't get any attention (no shoving away, looking, talking) the behavior is extinguished. However, if they have a history of begging then ignoring is going to be a ton harder.

It might be easier to teach them to go lay down on their dog bed whenever you have food, or that they simply aren't allowed in the kitchen.

I would also teach them the "leave it" command, which you are on the right track with what you described. When I start with leave it, I put a treat in my closed fist, let the dog do whatever he wants to it(he just can't eat it), and whenever he turns away or backs away I click and give him a different treat. Eventually I work up to putting a treat on the ground and guarding it, and eventually work on putting food down and leaving the room and still have my dog not eat it. But I click the slightest hesitation in the beginning and always give a different treat as the reward.
But I probably wouldn't start this while you are eating since it does take time to progress through the training, and in the meantime you would have a dog who learns that you sitting down with food means a training session for him.


New Member
Early on with stan i may have done something to encourage his begging, but i NEVER gave him ppl food. I probably loooked at him or something though while i was eating which made him think it was ok. I understand that the ignoring works, for most mutts. Stan is unusually stubborn though and this approach doesn't work! He just continues to sit and stare at you. But i have to have a talk with the hubby because his stance is "i can tease them all i want, they aren't getting anything and i know it." then next time we sit down to eat he is driven crazy by the animals at his feet. I am going to try to view that video by patricia mcConnell teaching stay. Although i am not sure what ARBI is... but i am about to google it!:msnohyes: thank you again for all the advice!!! oh, and i must point out, I don't give stan ppl food but others have and my husband does when i am not around. ... i am begining to realize breaking my dogs' habits means breaking my hubby's habits! which is harder than dealing with the dogs.... lol


New Member
oh and i would also like to say, i do try to keep them out of the kitchen. It has been working alright. I was walkin toward them and telling them out (my pug knows "out" he is just stubborn about it) and they would generally stay out of the kitchen, until they saw an opportunity to sneak in (say my husband walks into the kitchen). But during our meal times they still sit there and stare.... my pug more so than diego who i don't believe has recieved ANY people food since we got him, unless my husband snuck some. I am still trying to find those vids on ARBI.... no luck yet. Is there a link or something anyone can give me?


Honored Member
Staff member
Well dern I could've saved you some time had I found this post earlier; I keep the link in my faves. Lol. Definitely watch some Patricia McConnell vids there. Highly recommended. :)

Since Diego came from being a stray, there's no telling what his prior food source was. He may be used to scrounging for food, and may have been given scraps from people who saw him around. But, he is only three months old, so he may not have done this enough to have this habit. Who knows. But anyway, you've been given good advice that will help you with both your dogs. :)