Teaching a Big Dog to Stay Away From the Table During Dinner

By: David Codr

Published Date: May 10, 2018

In this Omaha dog training session we worked with 1 year-old Great Dane mix Charger, teaching him to stay away from the dining room table at mealtime, stop mouthing his humans and listen better.

I could tell right away that Charger was anxious and had cortisol pumping through bloodstream. He was twitchy, darting around the room, head on a swivel, barking in protest, then sniffing a bit before running away.

I used some dog behavior expert tricks to help him calm down enough to come over and start meeting me through scent; how dogs should first experience things. Once he was able to give me some good sniffs, he relaxed even more but it wasn’t until we were 3/4 of the way through the session that he finally became comfortable enough with me to touch and pet him.

After observing the dog and chasing with his humans about his dog problems, I came to the conclusion that Charger thinks its his job to protect the humans, but the humans dont listen to him. This causes him stress and anxiety when he tries to alert or protect him which absolutely contributes to his nervous, high alert behavior.

I shared a number of small dog behavior tips that will help the guardians start rewarding him for desired behaviors and taking on the leadership role in his eyes. Its going to be important for the humans to appear to be the leaders in order for him to stop stressing out over worry about protecting them.

I also went over my strategy to teach kids positive and desired ways of interacting with the dog. By providing the kids with some motivation along with dog guardian basics (petting with a purpose), they can have a big impact on the dog’s behavior.

To stop the dog from stealing food, I next showed the family how to establish an invisible boundary around the dinner table as well as how to enforce it. You can learn how to keep a dog away from the dinner table by watching this positive dog training video below.

Training a dog to stay away from the people who are eating is actually pretty easy with the right approach. By practicing the meal as I detail in the above video, the dog gets to “warm up” to the behavior in an easy scenario. Then once it sits or lays down outside of the boundary, the family can serve the actual meal.

Many of Charger’s problems were due to the family petting him at the wrong times. He would invade the mother’s space and she would automatically start petting him. He would nudge into her, another pet. He even air bit her and she would, you guessed it, pet him.

But anything a dog is doing when we pet it is what we reward. And in many cases, the dog will start pushing even further. So what starts out as a nudge can easily transition into jumping up and even biting, albeit in a non aggressive way.

To teach Charger to stop jumping up, they will need to stop petting him when he is excited and certainly when he jumps up on them. This exercise can also help train Charger to stop jumping when excited.

They would also be well served to teach him some control commands and exercises. This link will take you to a video where I teach a dog to drop, leave it and stay. All commands that will help Charger in one way or another.

To help the family remember all the positive dog training exercises we went over in this in home dog training session, we shot a roadmap to success video.


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This post was written by: David Codr

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