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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, I'm new to this site. I did not search for similar problems as mine because I have done so much research on this topic and all I see is the same suggestion. Don't give food to the dog off of your plate. Well we never have.
My husband and I adopted 2 Jack Russel terriers. The male is 7 and the female is 5. Apparently their previous owner fed them table scraps all the time. The female, Chello, will just sit there and stare at you while you're eating. The male, Banjo, hops up and down - whimpers and just makes a downright nuisance of himself. He's driving my husband crazy to the point that he doesn't want to keep him.
We've had them for about 3 months now. Not once have we given them any of the food we have been eating. Every site we've gone to has said to break the behavior, just stop giving them food. I would think after 3 months, if this were to work, it would have by now.
We've tried putting him in other rooms and crating him. We can't even enjoy our food for all the barking and whining and whimpering. It's really making my husband miserable which in turn is making me miserable. Is this a lost cause with a 7 year old male dog? I don't want to give him up and I don't want to separate the dogs, they have always been together, but this is becoming extremely unbearable. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Jen
 

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Hi Jen. I will occassionally give my dogs table food while I'm eating luch or something. And they will stare at whoever is eating, waiting for a bite, lol. This doesn't bother me one bit, I just ignore them or give them little bites as I'm going along. BUT, this really bothers my husband. So while he is home, during meal times, our dogs are crated and given a bone of some kind to keep them busy :) Problem solved.
 

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I like Emily's idea of giving them something in the crates to keep them busy. There's no reason they can't be snacking while you're eating. A bone, a bully stick, a stuffed Kong, even their own dinners might keep them quiet while you're enjoying your meal.
 

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I think they should be trained to go lay down. Maybe an obedience class would help you and the dogs learn how to get them to do what you want. a rug in the dining room where they lie while you eat would be how I would do it.

I actually do feed my dogs food from my plate, but when I want to stop, I tell then "That's all" and they go elsewhere. I'm not suggesting you feed them. :) I'm saying they can be trained to leave you alone.
 

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Zoey learned not to beg when we are eating by us only giving her scraps if she is sitting quietly, not jumping up, standing, or making noise. The few times she has tried to actively beg, we have told her to lay down and stay in the kitchen, away from the dining room. You could try a similar approach.. if they are good, they get rewarded, if they beg, they get moved farther away from the thing they want. I don't know if it will work for you or not, but it worked for us. Hope it helps a little.
 

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If the other ideas in this thread don't work, just put them in another room while you eat. =)
 

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I just ignored Wally and he'll give up.

Then when he laid down - suddenly food magically appeared in his mouth.

He looked up at me and begged. Huh? What? Did I hear something? No? I just kept eating (i.e. ignored him)

When I heard him flop on the floor in frustration. Oh - food appeared in his mouth again!

Now - he'll lie down and hope for the magic. If not - he'll take a quick nap.

Actually, now he'll paw me like he's a cat - but same responses.
 

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You may not like the fussing while they're crated, but, be persistent about this, and the behavior will eventually stop. They've been doing this for several years, so it's not going to be "fixed" overnight. And no, 7 yrs. isn't too late for this dog to change his behavior. Be consistent, persistent, and above all, be patient.
 

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My dogs will stare at me while I'm eating, but never get any food from me. Personally, it doesn't bother me that they stare at me. Mine also have a tendency to follow me around the kitchen hoping that I will drop food somewhere.
 

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Ah, but Wally is not a Jack Russell.
No, but he is a dog. The same approach worked on my Eskie. Sadie will actually go lie in one corner when we have food in the living room, maybe 95% of the time. Very rarely now, I toss a snack over to that corner. If she's not hungry she just lies in her usual spot.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow thanks for the suggestions everyone. Emily, sounds like your dogs are pretty laid back. Banjo's life seems to revolve around food. And he hates to be crated when he knows we are out and about and he can't be with us. All the howling, yelping, barking and whining drives us crazy. And it doesn't seem to matter where in the house we put him, it's just as loud as if he were right next to us.

Keechak, yes, we do say sit and stay. Chello is very obedient and will do it. Banjo is just so dang high strung! Maybe I need to get him some downers. (kidding lol) That is something I definitely need to stick to. I know we could get them to do it if we just stay persistent.

FilleBelle, a stuffed Kong was exactly what I thought of today so I went to PetSmart and got a couple. I'm going to put some peanut butter in them and cross my fingers.

Poodleholic, thanks. You say that the fact that he's 7 years old doesn't make it too late, that makes me feel better. Unfortunately out of the 2 of us, I'm the most patient lol. I just need to get DH to help me stick to it and hope that he doesn't lose his patience with him for good :(

Thanks to everyone for their responses. I'll try everything you guys said (except for giving scraps!!!) :)

Jen
 

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My dogs will stare at me while I'm eating, but never get any food from me. Personally, it doesn't bother me that they stare at me. Mine also have a tendency to follow me around the kitchen hoping that I will drop food somewhere.
I am positive that the dogs sometimes try to trip me on purpose. They look at each other and telepathically make a plan: "If she trips and breaks her leg, that whole roasted chicken is ours!"
 

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No, but he is a dog. The same approach worked on my Eskie.
The same approaches generally work, but some types require extra owner commitment. Terriers are not renowned as dogs who easily give up on strategies that have worked for them in the past.
 

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The same approaches generally work, but some types require extra owner commitment. Terriers are not renowned as dogs who easily give up on strategies that have worked for them in the past.
Haha, "terriers" and "terrors"....wonder if there's a reason they're called terriers?!?!? Just kidding of course. But it's funny that I had no idea how wild and energetic these dogs are known to be until after we adopted them. When I tell someone what kind of dogs we have, their eyes get huge and they say how rambunctious that breed is.
 

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The same approaches generally work, but some types require extra owner commitment. Terriers are not renowned as dogs who easily give up on strategies that have worked for them in the past.
It will still work, just takes more time perhaps. I had a JRT at work I got to do leave-its and wait at the door, no problem. Being super food motivation was good.
 

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Another option is to teach them to lay on a bed (dog bed, mat, towel what ever) in the room. If you google teaching dog place command you should come up with some articles on how to teach it.
 

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It will still work, just takes more time perhaps. I had a JRT at work I got to do leave-its and wait at the door, no problem. Being super food motivation was good.
I don't find terriers at all difficult, but they generally demand a lot of your attention. I've gotten some good stuff from friends' dogs where my friends thought I was some kind of dog wizard. There's no trick to it at all. Give a terrier something interesting to do, and you're halfway to home plate. Give them your full attention (without screaming at them), keep a little sump'n-sump'n in your pocket, and they are extremely willing. Their intelligence is widely underrated.
 

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Our dog used to bother us at the table, too. We trained her to go to her bed while we eat and if she' patient, she gets a reward. Usually when we're done eating, I tell her to bring me her kong and stuff a few vegetables and a little meat in it. She has to go back to her bed to get it. Reinforces that when she goes to her place something great will come eventually.

We started the training by tossing her tiny treats from the table when she was laying down calmly xx feet from us. If she got up, the treats stopped. If she stayed, treats would come randomly. We phased out the frequency of the treats over time. Eventually she understood that a down/stay on her bed would result in a treat when we were done eating. She still gets up occasionally and puts her head on my husband's leg (he can be a soft touch - have to watch him like a hawk!) but if we're firm and tell her to go to her bed she will. Haven't found anything to stop the stare, though, short of tossing her a t-bone steak!
 
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