Does it seem like you have a cute ‘beggar’ living with you?
Because every time you bring out food, your furry buddy will just stare and whine.
And they’ll hypnotize you with their sparkling doll-like eyes.
Everything’s adorable until…
They bark their head off and beg like they hadn’t eaten for 10 years!
You might wonder what’s behind this madness. And what you can do to enjoy a peaceful meal again.
Keep reading to find out:
- What causes your dog to be noisy as you eat.
- If they’re really hungry or it’s just an attention-seeking behavior.
- 5 tips on how to survive and keep them behave throughout every mealtime.
- And so much more…
Table of contents
Why does my dog bark while I’m eating?
Your dog barks while you’re eating because they want to know what you’re eating and they want a bite of it, they’re still hungry, they’re young and still not trained with table manners, they simply want your attention, they’re bored and just being playful, or the behavior has been reinforced.
7 reasons why your dog barks while you’re eating
#1: They’re dying of curiosity
“Ohh…what do you have for lunch?
Can I see it, please?”
Dogs are very curious.
It’s known that their noses are 10,000-100,000 times more sensitive than humans’. So they can sniff anything and might act like your mom who wants to know what you’re eating every time.
They might be doing it not because they want your food.
They’re acting like that to see what you got in there. And look if it’s something they might like or not.
You may have also noticed this before. There could be an instance when they stared and whined at you while you’re having some snacks.
So you gave in and offered them what you’re eating. But when you tossed it to them, they just smelled it for one second and didn’t even taste it.
And that’s because they only want to know the thing that you seem to be chewing with so much delight.
Your pooch might be thinking, “Hmm. My human’s eating with gusto. What is he/she having? I’m dying to know.”
#2: They want some
You’re having a burger while sitting on the couch.
Then right when you’re about to take your first bite…
Your dog starts whining and pawing at you like they haven’t been fed for days.
So you ignore them. But they start barking like crazy.
You know they’re being fed enough. But try to put yourself in your dog’s shoes.
Imagine being able to smell delicious food in front of you.
You’re not allergic to it as far as you know. But still, you can’t have it. And you’re upset because you’re stuck with eating only dried kibbles and boiled meat.
Also, does their barking get louder? And when they do it, where do you usually eat?
If it’s at a coffee table, bed, or sofa, the height might have also added to their frustration.
It’s low so they can fully see what you’re having there. So anything will be irresistible for them. Even if they have already eaten.
#3: They’re still hungry
They might also be begging purely out of hunger.
If this happens often, they might not be getting enough food every day.
You might be eating a snack while they’re waiting for dinner to come. Or they might also be feeling anxious about when they’re getting their meal.
If they’re fed twice per day, it can also be because of their diet. There might be an issue with the quality of food they’re having.
Like a large and active hound might need more amount and a different kibble compared to what the smaller ones are eating.
#4: Lack of training
Begging, even though it might be normal, isn’t a nice way of asking for food. Especially when it’s accompanied by barking and whining.
This might be common in puppies. As they’re still learning or haven’t been trained yet.
So, did you get your dog from a breeder? Or did they belong to another person before you got them?
If yes, they might not have been taught table manners at an early age.
Same with children, they must learn how to behave when it’s mealtime. Without this, they’d think that what they’re doing is right.
Good thing is, you can still change this behavior. So don’t fret. And stick for a bit longer.
#5: They taught you very well
Dogs are smart. They know what trick to use on a certain person to get something.
So they might already know how they can get food from you and other people.
In the past, you might have panicked and thrown some pieces of meat on the floor. You did it to make them stop as they started barking so loud.
I know. Those sounds might be annoying, especially when you’re just trying to enjoy your meal and have a good time.
That’ll make most people lose their patience. And finally, give in to those cute puppy eyes.
In fact, a study in Hungary was made to determine which kind of bark is the most annoying for people. And the high-pitched ones got the crown. They also found out that young adults get irritated by it the most.
But…if you’re confident that you’ve been firm with this from the start, it might be because of someone else.
They might have been getting food when your mom’s eating her lunch while you’re away. Or they know that if they whine, it’ll make your roommate share a piece of bread.
So from then on, they realized that throwing tantrums in front of an eating person will get attention and food.
And that’s mainly what they want. So they’ll keep on doing it until the behavior isn’t corrected.
It’s a given that barking is an attention-seeking behavior. But why could they be doing it while you’re eating if they’re not hungry?
Well, if they’re clingy, they might just want you to notice them and let them sit on your lap.
If they’ve just eaten, check the time. They might need to go potty right away. And they’re telling you to stop what you’re doing or else they’re going to explode at any minute.
You might also like: 7 Reasons Why Your Dog Barks When You’re In The Shower
#7: It’s a play behavior
If it seems like they bark not because they want your food, it might be due to lack of exercise or it’s their trait.
Some dogs are naturally playful and have lots of energy. And they might also be bored and want to do something.
So they might not like it when you’re eating.
That’s because when you’re having your meal, you tend to pay more attention to your food, right?
And in their eyes, it might look like you’re giving it too much time than what you give to them.
So they yap to express their frustration and disappointment in you.
Dogs who have this may also snap in the air if they become agitated. And they must have also done this in the past and got what they wanted.
5 tips on how to get your dog to stop barking while you’re eating
#1: Fill their stomach first
“A hungry stomach cannot hear.”
– Jean de La Fontaine
They say a full belly means a happy heart. Even humans, when starving, get grumpy too.
So all of your “no’s” and shushes might not be effective to a famished dog.
That’s why it would be best to feed them first right before having your meal. And do it in their crate or their ‘eating spot’ in the house.
By doing that, you’re reinforcing them to munch on their food only within that specific area. And also preventing them from begging for some when you’re eating.
#2: Unlearn the behavior
First, remove what’s encouraging the behavior. For this one, it’s the attention.
So, start by ignoring them when they bark at you. Avoid staring at and speaking to them.
You may prepare some earbuds as they might not stop whining right away. This happens due to an ‘extinction burst’.
It’s like the calm before the storm. As they might think you’re not getting what they’re trying to tell you. So they get louder and do it more frequently during the first phases.
Also, be alert of them snapping out at you due to frustration.
It’s going to be new to them as they’re used to getting what they want easily. So they’ll be confused like a kid trying to learn Calculus.
Now, you may need to replace the activity you stopped with the one you’d like.
So you can give them a Kong to keep them occupied.
Provide them ‘busy toys’ or similar stuff that dispenses food in a way that’s challenging for them. Then fill it with snacks they love. You may also freeze it overnight as most pooches love that.
However, make sure to give it to them when they’re still not making a fuss.
You can offer it before you eat or go to the dining. As you’re avoiding any vocalizations to be encouraged.
It would only be successful if everyone in the house knows about it. So they should know not to give your dog table food or share snacks out of their eating spot.
Everybody must do the same thing to avoid confusion in your pooch.
#3: Obedience training
Diverting your dog’s focus into a toy might not be enough to fix this behavior. You might also need to teach them good manners.
Introduce them to the basic ‘magical’ commands. Such as “sit,” “lie down,” “stay,” and “leave it.” Or refresh their minds if they’re already trained before.
- If you’re eating and they bark at you, make them “sit” instead.
- Show a small treat then let them sniff it.
- Raise it above their head. Wait until their bum touches the ground. Then give it to them when they “sit.”
- Next, put your hand on the floor and say “lie down.”
- When they do it, praise them and offer treats.
- Now, open your hand with your palm facing them. Hold it up and say “stay.”
- If they sit still even for two seconds, quickly reward them.
- Then step back a bit. Test if they’re going to stay in their position.
- If they seem fine, back off a bit more while telling them to “stay.”
- Again, give them treats immediately if they didn’t move. But as you repeat it, gradually remove it and train them only by a verbal cue.
For “leave it”, you may need to drop off some food on the floor. Then tell them the cue word as soon as they start to move towards it. Once they stopped, reward them right away.
They might not learn these in one try so teach them one cue at a time. It might also take a few days or weeks to master them.
#4: Provide an ‘eating spot’
Prevention is always better than cure.
So if you want them to stop bothering you in the dining area, place them somewhere else first. Or much better if you can teach them how to go in there.
You can put them in a room next to the dining.
Make it cozy by putting a bed or mat with their fave toys and a frozen Kong on it.
You can also put a crate or rug in a location where you’re still visible, but not too close for them to bug you. Then, introduce them to the “go to your bed/crate’ cue.
Every time they’re trying to come to you, pat their bed and entice them with a treat. If they bark and won’t go near it, wait until they settle down.
Make sure to only reward them when they’re calm.
And train them not during your actual meal or else you might end up with food as cold as frozen meat. You can have a ‘dry run’ and only prepare a small meal.
This would need a lot of time, patience, and treats. So, get ready for it because its magic won’t happen overnight.
You can check this video to learn how to make them go to their spot:
#5: Change up their diet and mealtime
If they’re leaving their bowl unfinished and go to you to beg instead, you might need to make some changes.
They might not be getting enough nutrition or their food isn’t suitable for their breed or age.
For example, a pup of a large dog might not be satisfied with kibbles for average-sized pooches.
It might also be that the amount of food given isn’t sufficient for an active and fully-grown canine.
It would be nice if you can have them checked by a vet or a dog nutritionist.
That’s for you to know what’s the best meal plan to follow.
And if they get hungry at a particular time – like when you’re eating lunch or breakfast. You can reduce their heavy meals and sneak some time for snacks.