Charlie is normally pretty mellow, although when it's time to sit down to eat, he's suddenly all over you. It's like he's glued to your ankle. Not all dogs are food motivated, but those who are may act a little crazy when people food makes an appearance. Surely if he had thumbs, he'd gladly do any chores you wanted, just to get a nibble of that slice of pizza.
Dogs are easily motivated, often working for a little extra attention, a chew toy or a meaty treat. Most of the time you have to be around to give him these rewards, but if he hides out under the table, he can reward himself for doing nothing. He's learned that by lurking underneath everyone's chairs at mealtime, he can get random morsels of the delectable dish you're enjoying.
Your barking family member craves attention from you – even if it's negative attention. He just wants to know that he is the center of your world and of course, remind you that he is right there and ready to play. By scolding him for hanging out in the kitchen while you're cooking, you just paid attention to him and inadvertently encouraged him to hang out in there. He's learned that by rubbing up against you while you're in the kitchen, you'll reach down, grab him and take him to another room. Although it only lasted for a few seconds, he got a little acknowledgement to tide him over for a few moments.
It Smells Good
Your kitchen fills up with all kinds of enticing smells while you're heating up food. Just like a skillet full of chicken, broccoli, pasta and garlic makes your mouth water, it also does the same thing to Charlie. Sure he has his own bowl of kibble over there, but it doesn't smell nearly as delicious as what you're about to eat. No wonder he acts like a crazy pup when you turn on the stove.
Nixing the Begging
It sure is difficult to ignore Charlie's sweet face when all he wants is just a miniscule piece of that steak you're eating. Don't give in – he already has a well-balanced diet of his own. In order to get rid of the behavior, you'll have to start ignoring him. Pay no attention to him and make sure everyone in your family ignores him too. Consistency is key to nix that annoying habit. If it's too hard for you to overlook him or if he continues to be stubborn, put him in his crate with his own dish of food while you're eating or put him out in the backyard with his favorite ball. Eventually he'll figure out that begging doesn't get him anywhere.
Be Careful with People Food
If your pooch seems to vacuum up after you the split second you get up from the dining room table, be careful about what he gets in his mouth – not all human food is safe for canines. The majority of fruits and vegetables are okay, but there are a few that are toxic for dogs. Don't let him have avocados, grapes, raisins, onions or anything with garlic. If you're in a baking mode, don't let Charlie jump up on the counter. Raw bread dough or any batter made with yeast is also harmful for your four-legged buddy. You'll also have to keep chocolate, macadamia nuts, moldy foods and any product that has artificial sweeteners out of his mouth. They can make him very sick.
By Melodie Anne Coffman
About the Author
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.