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Begging

Begging

Begging: The art of a dog begging is something to be admired in a way. Some dogs can beg with all the charm in the world. Looking at you with those puppy dog eyes, staring at you as if their world is going to fall apart should you not give in to their wishes; it is not surprising that just around 40% of dog owners give their pets human food on a regular basis in addition to dog food.

Their reason? Their dog just won't stop begging for it!

Dogs will beg for many reasons such as:
  • Wanting food from your dinner
  • To go outside to play
  • To get up onto your bed
  • To be able to play with an object that you do not consider to be a dog toy
  • To get your attention
Some of these are harmless and some can do more damage than you may think. When it comes to a dog begging for human food, an owner must be aware of why feeding your dog a high quality dog food or specifically prepared home cooked food is the only food that should be given.

When you feed manufactured food, it is very important to never give in to your Tzu's begging for human food. Your dog will have no idea that there is a difference between a healthy piece of steak that you give him and your refusal to give him a piece of your onion ring (very toxic to dogs).
Shih Tzu begging with puppy dog eyes
When you home cook, it is also important that your Shih Tzu receives the meals that you prepare for him or her...and does not expect morsels of your dinner to be given to him or her while you are sitting at the dining table.

Your Tzu will not understand that your home cooked food is human food, he or she will simply think it is delicious. Therefore, giving your Tzu homemade food does not automatically make it alright to offer any and all human food.

If you give in once...you will have a long road ahead of you. If you have already given in, immediately stop giving in and stay firm. 
Another reason to not give in to begging, is because there could be even small amounts of ingredients in your food, that is toxic to your Shih Tzu. Some of the food that can cause havoc to a dog's tummy are:
  •     Onions (in moderate to high doses)
  •     Seeds
  •     Certain fruits such as grapes
  •     Caffeine
  •     Raisins
  •     And of course chocolate
The best method to train your Shih Tzu to stop begging is to have a higher will power than they do. It will be a stand off until they are trained. You, for the sake of your dog's health, must remain firm in your beliefs. Training for this sort of behavior can be in vain in all members of the family are not on the same page. If one owner stands firm, yet another gives in, this sends mixed messages to a dog and will never lead to successful training.

This is an instinctual behavior that can become a learned habit. Any sort of behavior that brings about any sort of reward becomes habit for a dog. Even if it takes 30 minutes for that reward to come, a canine will continue to work toward it, knowing that he or she will receive it. The key is to outlast your dog, proving that things have changed...And that begging for any element will not result in success.

It is human instinct to be a bit vocal when a dog is begging. Owners are tempted to say, "No!". Some will try and scold, some will remove the dog from the room. However, this does not work. Saying anything at all is offering attention; it may not be the final goal of a Tzu, however attention often causes a dog to metaphorically think, "If I begged and I'm getting some attention, surely if I keep persisting, I'll get what I really and truly want."...And on it goes. The dog barks, jumps up and whimpers some more, the owners keep saying "no" and it repeats in a circle.

Additionally, removing a dog from the room is a temporary solution. While it can end one problem (the begging), it often creates others...Usually increased barking and/or destructive chewing behavior as the dog begins to feel frustrated and stress from being isolated. 

Keeping this all in mind, the answer is to ignore the behavior. Really? That's all? Well, it's easier said than done, because it takes a lot of will power to ignore very strong begging behaviors. However, when a Shih Tzu (or any other dog breed for that matter) is complete and utterly ignored, he or she learns that whatever actions they are taking result in ....nothing. Zero happens. Nothing is gained. Not even a slice of attention is achieved. And at that moment, when the light switch turns on and a dog realizes this, something wonderful happens: Begging stops.

If even one person in the house deviates from this, nothing will change. A Tzu will metaphorically think, "Well, it's harder now to receive what I want, but if I keep trying I will eventually get it from someone !".

So, keep everyone on track, unless your Shih Tzu is causing discomfort to people (jumping up on young children, etc) and his "crime" is simply making a ruckus, for this particular behavioral issue, ignoring is the key to having a peaceful home. Finally, one will want to give praise to a dog that replaces this behavior with appropriate action. For example, if a Tzu is begging for his owners food, once he has calmed down via this method, when he walks over to his own meal and begins to eat, praise should be given to let the Tzu know that he has taken action that does warrant attention.
Note: The Shih Tzu is one adorable dog who can bring a lot of interesting & puzzling behavioral issues! Learn more about the AllShihTzu Book that we have for you, to understand about all Shih Tzu behavior & appropriate training.
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