Our dog’s natural attraction to food comes out of his instinct for safety and preservation. Food is something that he needs to survive. The issue that we have with our dog’s instinct is that he doesn’t understand that the food is often ours and not his.
We put food in our dog’s food bowl, give him chew toys and toss him doggie treats. We give our dog food all the time. We also put our Pot Roast out on the dining room table and call the family to dinner. We then get mad if our dog jumps up on one of the chairs to “share in the feast”. Well, that is just wrong; but why?
From our dog’s perspective, we give food and he takes it. When we leave the Pot Roast on the table and go off to retrieve our kids for dinner, he thinks we are just putting more food down for him.
The problem is that we have not communicated the terms of “ownership” to our dog regarding the food. We have not clearly stated his position in our group (family, pack, etc.) and the difference between “being allowed” and “taking something that is not yours”.
If you have multiple dogs, watch them when you feed them or give them treats. They clearly let the others know if they are going to keep, share, or abandon. The interaction that you are witnessing is part of a social communication that can be traced back to their “wolf origins”. It is what keeps “things running smoothly” and allows “everyone to have theirs”.
Robin and I have a great dog training blog that will walk you through the process and give you a great training exercise to keep your Pot Roast safe on the dinner table. Please take a moment to read our article titled “How Do I Stop My Dog from Stealing Food from the Table”.