How to Get a Dog to Stop Eating Food on the Coffee Table

Pastries are people food, not puppy snacks.
i Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

If your dog thinks your coffee table is her personal buffet station, then you’ve got a problem. Many human foods aren’t safe for dogs, and that tasty treat could become a life-threatening issue. Save your snacks by teaching your pooch the proper place to eat.

Step 1

Feed your dog before you eat. It seems like common sense, but your dog may steal your dog because she is genuinely hungry. If your dog is consistently bothering you at the coffee table during mealtime, give her half of her daily ration of food to keep her busy while you eat.

Step 2

Keep food off the coffee table if you’re not there to watch it. Most dogs won’t steal food if their owner is sitting close by, but if you get up to get a drink or answer the door, your dinner will be history. If you have to leave the table, pick up your plate and carry it to the kitchen.

Step 3

Prevent your dog from reaching the coffee table. Place the dog in another room and block off the entrance with a pet gate. Give the dog a few toys to keep her busy on her side of the gate, and ignore her if she whines or barks. If you acknowledge her, you are reinforcing a negative behavior that will become increasingly difficult to stop.

Step 4

Teach the dog a “Leave it” command. Set a plate of food on the table, and clip a leash to your dog’s collar. Allow the dog to sniff at the plate, and tell her “Leave it” in a loud voice. When the dog turns to look at you, reward her with a treat. This teaches her that she earns a tasty treat when she ignores your food. If she reaches toward the food instead of looking at you, tug gently on the leash until she moves away from the plate. Repeat this short exercise multiple times throughout the day until she no longer pays attention to your food.

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