Setting the Tone for Proper Table Manners

Teaching Buddy table manners is your responsibility, and you only have to remember one rule: Don't feed the dog from the table. This concept sounds a lot simpler than it is, especially in a multiperson household. Moreover, don't ever underestimate your dog's ability to train you.

Every time you reward your dog's efforts with a treat from the table, you're systematically teaching him not to take "no" for an answer.

When Buddy was a puppy, nobody thought much about occasionally slipping him something from the table. But now he is 6 months old, almost fully grown, and has started to beg at the table. Because his begging is no longer cute and is embarrassing when you have guests, the family resolves to put a stop to it.

At first, Buddy doesn't believe you're serious; after all, you were the one who started it in the first place. He digs a little deeper into his repertoire of begging routines. He may sit up, nudge you, paw you, or whine in the most pathetic tone as though he's near death's door from starvation. Sure enough, little Sally takes pity on him and slips him something.

As this scenario repeats itself, often with longer intervals before someone gives in, Buddy is systematically being trained to persevere at all cost and never give up. Looking at it from his point of view, you're rewarding, even encouraging, the very behavior you want to stop.

When you stop rewarding the undesired behavior (begging), your dog will stop begging at the table. As soon as you stop giving in to Buddy, his efforts will decrease, until over time, and provided you don't have a relapse, he'll stop begging altogether. In technical jargon, you have extinguished the unde-sired behavior by refusing to reward it.

You can also save yourself all this aggravation by teaching Buddy the "Go Lie Down" command so you can enjoy your meals in peace. (See "Go lie down, doggy!" earlier in this chapter.)

Dog Potty Training

Dog Potty Training

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