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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

Im new here and a first time owner. my husband and I got a very active 4mnth old shelter puppy recently and while the first few weeks were crazy to say the least, Im glad the puppy (Bessie) is learning well now. (thanks to the NILIF program we learnt about here). she also goes to Puppy training classes.

However, one major problem remains. She will not let us eat our food in peace, nor let me cook. If we put her in the crate she barks a storm (we dont let her out). If she's out she tries to lunge at the kitchen counter and the dining table for food. We never give in to her demands and dont feed her during the meal...but save a few scraps for her after meals. During the meal, she responds to 'sit' command, and when we praise her, she expects to get rewarded instantly (as happens during training) and starts lunging at the dinner table again when that reward doesnt come. (Though she does respond to 'no' and 'off' commands while being trained by treats..in real times she often doesnt listen to them)

I am hoping to train her to sit quietly near the dinner table and wait while we finish our food...and then get some scraps. however I cannot figure out how to get her to do this. Any suggestions on how we should go about it?
 

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Considering your dog's age I would continue to use the crate, but I would give her something to do...like finish a frozen stuffed Kong. Nothing makes for a doggy pacifier like a well packed Kong. However, I'd ask your puppy-instructor if a placement cue, to a mat, will be a part of your schooling or if this behavior will be taught in subsequent courses. Because I think this is what you actually want, your dog calmly settling down on a mat at dinner time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick reply curbside...Bessie calmly settling down on a mat at dinner time is exactly the kind of utopian ideal im hoping for. :).

Giving her a stuffed kong during our mealtimes is a great idea....but will it mean that she will continue to expect a kong everytime we sit for dinner? And will it foster the above desired good behaviour? (also her crate is right next to our dining table)

And will ask the instructor for a 'placement cue to a mat' ..however its a puppy group training class and they are just starting on teaching 'sit'...so I dont know whether the trainer will teach us the placement cue ahead/beyond class schedule. Any reccomendations for where i could find the placement cues online?
 

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Well I don't know if this will work but we would just put my pup on a leash and tether him somewhere where he could not reach the table/food while we ate and make him sit there. He would bark and whine and be unhappy but eventually he just stopped trying and now he never begs while we eat. He might watch us if thinks he is going to get lucky but usually he just lies down because he knows it's not happening.


I think you just have to suffer through the noise at first! And yes give her a kong or something to chew on. That is what I did come to think of it and yes he needed that for a long time but now I don't give him anything and he is fine. I think I weaned him off of always having it.
 

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Why would you put crate next to dining room table, isn't that like the fox in the chicken coop. I know some people like the crate in the area where there is a lot of family action going on etc. Then they can't understand why puppies raise ruckus when put in crate. Just imagine a pup that is started in crate that is in a spare room, you will have the whining and barking that is normal and then it will phase out and when you cook or eat pup can be crated with no problems. Were she my pup I would crate her in different room for a starter if it was possible.

The kong program can be used while the puppy is a pup, as puppy matures and your training takes hold the natural play would be a calmer dog etc down the road. Eventually kong could be phased out. I don't understand trying to train a puppy during meal time, I don't understand the reward puppy when meal ends, I wonder how the puppy will know exactly end of meal. Think about it this way you're in the car with kids that are hopefully much smarter than your puppy and as your traveling the kids keep asking are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet.
Now the puppy, can I eat the reward yet, can I eat the reward yet, Oh you get the idea. The utopian ideal could be way down the road and before you worry about phasing out the kong, shouldn't you see if it even works. This is a wild woolly puppy that is doing the absolute normal things that puppies do to their owners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks for your replies:

Ozzie: we do try to suffer through it. :)..we've become food gobblers though..:D

wvasko: The kids in the car was a good analogy. However, i would like a peaceful and well mannered puppy during our mealtimes..so I dont know why you found the idea of training the pup how to behave during meals curious. and as for "worrying about phasing out the kong before even trying it"..it was a general question and not a criticism or resistance to the suggestion of the Kong. pls keep in mind that that we are new owners and therefore know not even 10% of what most people here know and like to store in as much info as possible.

also the crate is near the dining table because we live in a small townhome where the ground floor has a single area with living room and dining space combined. The bedrooms are upstairs and keeping the crate in one of them is inconvenient when we spend most of our time downstairs. (and relocating the crate upstairs every mealtime is not feasible)
 

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I pretty much just ignored Wally and anything he did while trying to entice me to give him attention (or better, something to eat).

Eventually, he'd see he's not getting either attention or food and just flop down, sigh hard and settle.

That's when I gave him a reward.

(Wvasko: Actually, Wally knows when I'm done eating. If my mouth isn't chewing, he knows I'm not eating - I kid you not. He's figured that out on his own. Also if he sees my hand go up to my mouth (like an eating motion) he'll think I'm eating and start sniffing trying to figure out what I'm eating - it's funny!)

So now, when I sit and eat, he'll lie down. He doesn't know when I'm going to give him whatever, so he'll stay down the whole I'm time sitting in the chair. Sometimes he'll get something immediately, or sometimes nothing at all - or only at the end. But everytime, he's lying down, just waiting for the chance.
 

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Only two ways to deal with the issue at this age....crate or chase her out of the kitchen. Neither one is very pleasant to deal with and I've used both of them at various times. We don't give table scraps right after the meal. On occassion, we'll refrigerate some leftovers for the next day and then add to their kibble but, never directly from the table.
 

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Giving her a stuffed kong during our mealtimes is a great idea....but will it mean that she will continue to expect a kong everytime we sit for dinner? And will it foster the above desired good behaviour? (also her crate is right next to our dining table)
The ABC's of learning is as follows: A (antecedent) - B (behavior) - C (consequence). For the crate to Kong experience your ABC's will be: the cue, "get in your crate" (antecedent) - dog climbs into crate (behavior) - frozen stuffed Kong (consequence). What I'm trying to illustrate is that the Kong will reinforce going into crate behavior, nothing more. The only way you can reinforce "begging" behavior is if you gave her the Kong when she started begging. You know enough not to do that, so no, the Kong will not reinforce this behavior. And if you find going into her crate a desirable behavior, giving her a Kong to pacify her time is a good reinforcer for that.

Will you have to give her a Kong forever? No. While she's gnawing on her Kong she's getting needed stimulation. Hopefully enough stimulation that once she's done with the Kong a nap is a good idea. So as this process is repeated, you dog can also associate the crate with a relaxing nap. Napping is reinforcing for many dogs, especially as they age, and it's at this point where it may not be necessary to give your dog a Kong as often as you may now.

Any reccomendations for where i could find the placement cues online?
I'll have to look, but really it's just a generalized sit and/or down to a place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Thanks KBLover and TooneyDogs,

KBLover: I wish my puppy could be like your wally. maybe someday..:). But suppose you dont give him a treat everytime he lies down...does he get angry?

TooneyDogs: I will try crating her and giving her a kong first. btw another question: does any kong work or only a stuffed one? i bought one from the petstore which was a 'squeaky kong' not a 'stuffed kong'--not knowing the difference. :(. can the non stuffed kong be frozen too?

Thanks again Curbside, you've been really helpful..in both giving a solution and explaining the logic behind it. :)
 

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can the non stuffed kong be frozen too?
You want one of these...


Or any other toy that can be stuffed with food. Kong is just one brand name, there are others. The squeaky ones are great if your dog wants to chew on it, but food is far more interesting to most dogs than a squeak toy.
 

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Tooney
That's what I'm saying. Oh and that definitely is the only pressure free way for table-scrap delivery.

KBL
Trust me, Vanna (GWP) is a garbage hound and will eat anything not tied down. But she also like Wally knows when we sit to eat there is nothing coming her way. None of this stuff as you know is done overnight and I don't put that pressure on puppies ever. That's what crates are for. You could dropkick the pup out of the kitchen but only problem with that is you usually don't have much of a pup left. I tried the magic wand that was a bust and prayer didn't help.

im_nice1
That's what I'm trying to tell you that there is no such animal as a peaceful-well mannered pup. The rule you live by is that a 3 yr old dog and a 3 yr old child are equal. Now let's talk about a 5 month old puppy. Do you see what I'm trying to tell you.
 

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KBLover: I wish my puppy could be like your wally. maybe someday..:). But suppose you dont give him a treat everytime he lies down...does he get angry?
Nope, he just follows me around wanting some attention and wondering what we'll do next. :)

KBL
Trust me, Vanna (GWP) is a garbage hound and will eat anything not tied down. But she also like Wally knows when we sit to eat there is nothing coming her way. None of this stuff as you know is done overnight and I don't put that pressure on puppies ever. That's what crates are for. You could dropkick the pup out of the kitchen but only problem with that is you usually don't have much of a pup left. I tried the magic wand that was a bust and prayer didn't help.
True that. Crates are the best thing ever :)

Heh yeah, punting a pup probably wouldn't be good. I haven't even tried the magic wand. I'm glad to hear your review of it first :)

Prayer - never hurts, but didn't seem to help.
 

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Very good suggestions given.

We did the stuffed kong in the crate until Libby was 5-6 months. By that point she had a pretty good down/stay and leave it, so we started putting her in a stay in the location we wanted her at mealtime, knowing her stay limit was about 15 minutes with light distraction. At the 10 minute mark we would give her the kong to reinforce the stay before she broke, and also to keep her busy through the rest of the meal.

At some point (10 ish months), she started to realize that sitting at the table meant it was time to chill out. She was showing us that she understood this concept while we ate breakfast, so we started to phase out the dinner kong. Now she knows that if we are at the table she should go lay down.
 

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However, I'd ask your puppy-instructor if a placement cue, to a mat, will be a part of your schooling or if this behavior will be taught in subsequent courses. Because I think this is what you actually want, your dog calmly settling down on a mat at dinner time.
I started this cue a couple weeks ago after seeing it on an episode of "Its Me or the Dog." It has gone great so far and has made things much easier and calmer at mealtimes.
 

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As everyone has said, crate the pup, give a kong, and suffer through for awhile till she gets it (although the kong should keep her quiet enough).

An alternative to the crate like I said was using the leash to tether her away from the table while you give her a kong or bone to chew on. But if you are already crating then that sounds good.

I remember those days were awful and now my dog is very good when I eat so there is hope!! This is normal puppy stuff and she will get better.

I don't think you should give her food at the end of dinner though but that is just my opinion. My mom has done this with her dog and while he is quiet during the meal he always watches very intently waiting for that meal to be over. I never did this. In fact when my pup was young I never gave him any human food ever unless it was in his kong at another time but never from the table. i think it just reinforces begging. He now hardly ever watches us because he knows he is not getting it. Now that he is older I have become weak and sometimes give him scraps but it has not become a problem.
 

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I would continue to use the crate, give her a chance but as soon as she starts begging into the kennel she goes. She should eventually learn that when she begs she goes to her kennel. That's how we handled Upendi. Now she's gotten to the point where we can leave her door open during meal times and tell her to go to bed and wait and she'll calmly wait in there until meal time is over even with the door open. Good luck!
 
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