Once a Beggar, Always a Beggar?

Your pet routinely gets at least two meals a day. They’re at the perfect weight, they don’t go hungry, and they even get treats and yogurt and maybe even some people scraps in between meals. You might even say they’re a little bit spoiled. 

begging petsYet, like clockwork, they’re begging for food at 4 a.m. every morning, convinced the world is ending because they can see the bottom of the food bowl. At dinner time, they’re right by your side, nose at the table, convinced that the only way they’ll survive is to get a bite of people food. Sit down on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, and they’re convinced it’s the best food they’ve ever smelled—and tasted, if you’d only let them have a bite.

Is your pet a beggar? If so, there is still hope to break them of the habit, and stop getting 4 a.m. wake up calls once they realize their food bowl is empty. 

  1. At your next vet checkup, be sure to ask how your pet is doing weight wise. If your pet is too thin or a bit overweight, follow your vet’s advice to get your pet to a healthy weight. (Even if your pet is underweight, you don’t need to let them beg at the dinner table.) 
  2. All food action should be at your pet’s food bowl. Only feed your pet in their bowl—never share table scraps at the table or while cooking. It only takes one bite of steak for your pet to realize the good stuff is at the people table.
  3. Feed your pet at the same time every day. They’ll quickly learn when they can expect food.
  4. Don’t give in to loud, or puppy eye, demands. While your cat might put up a fuss when they want food and your dog will give you the saddest, hungriest eyes ever, giving in will only teach them that begging works. Feel free to offer treats and animal-friendly snacks in between meals, but don’t do it because they asked. Pull out the treats at random, and ask for a few tricks or just a “sit” first. (Even cats are excellent at learning new tricks.)
  5. If your pet never seems satisfied after a meal, and is constantly begging for more, be sure that you’re feeding enough (your veterinarian will be able to reassure you). If you are, consider supplementing meals with low calorie food options, such as canned pumpkin or vegetables like green beans, to help fill them up. Be sure that any new food is pet-safe.

Untraining a learned behavior like begging might take a bit of time, but is worth it once your dog can relax during your dinner—with his nose off the table. 

By Rachel Leisemann Immel

Fluffs of Luv Pet Care offers an array of customized pet care services, including in home pet sitting, dog walking, cat only pet sitting, overnight visits and cat and dog grooming. As the most reputable pet sitters and dog walkers in Charlotte and the surrounding area, Fluffs of Luv has put countless clients at ease by caring for their cherished companions while they were away.  Give Fluffs of Luv a call for a free in home consultation for pet care or to set up a grooming appointment 704-421-3492 or visit www.fluffsofluv.com. Don’t forget to book your give back bath on Thursday’s.  All breed baths only $25 on Thursday and $5 is donated to rescue of the month!  Call 704-440-4080 to set up your bath.