(PETS/DOG TRAINING) Got a beggar in the family? Though your dog may look irresistibly cute, begging and pleading for food can quickly get out of hand.

Here are some tips to help train your dog to stop begging at the dinner table. — Global Animal

PawNation, Mary Burch

Meet Mary Burch, American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Director and Paw Nation’s expert columnist addressing your questions on animal behavior. Dr. Burch has over 25 years of experience working with dogs, and she is one of fewer than 50 Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists based in the United States. She is the author of 10 books, including the new official book on the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program, “Citizen Canine: 10 Essential Skills Every Well-Mannered Dog Should Know.”

How can I stop my dog from begging at the table?

When those sweet brown boxer eyes look up at you, it’s hard to resist sharing a piece of your pot roast. Yet begging at the table is one canine habit that can quickly become a nuisance.

If your dog begs, don’t give in. You need to ignore the begging 100 percent of the time for the behavior to go away. Make sure your family members and friends do the same. Consistency is key to changing your dog’s behavior.

Another way to discourage begging is by feeding your dog before you eat. You’ll have a dog who is not hungry and is more likely to settle down. By teaching your dog basic skills such as “down” and “stay,” you’ll have some alternative behaviors that can be used to manage your dog during meal times.

Finally, don’t forget to reward good behavior. When your meal is over — if your dog has been well-behaved — take that one last bite of pot roast from your plate and put it in your dog’s dish, not straight into your dog’s mouth from the table. Your dog will soon learn this routine and may even start waiting by her dish for her treat.

More PawNation: http://www.pawnation.com/2010/09/15/ask-the-akc-animal-behaviorist-how-can-i-stop-my-dog-from-begg/