How to feed my dog from the table
Yes you heard that right!
Our philosophy is NOT to say NO. We are always striving to make him operate and find out which behavior it is that leads to success on his part. Of course it is best and easiest to communicate once you have created a marker- such as the clicker.
It is normal for the dog to detect yummy food on the table and wants to have his share. The easiest way for him to execute is of course to pursue physically into the natural direction. Climbing on the table and take it. If that happens, of course the behavior of doing so is tremendously reinforced!
I remember when I was a kid and had my first dog. Having breakfast before school, eating cheesecake. In the middle of it, I had to go to the bathroom. When I returned, the cheesecake was gone…my dog was still laying beside the table. But I thought when I left, there was still some cake left? The next morning I purposely left some on the plate and left. But only for a few seconds. And I caught him the act and punished him. Yes, that was the old way of doing it forty years ago.
Today we are a little smarter and avoid using punishments at all cost.
Start by setting up food on the table (perhaps having dinner). Have your marker ready. As the dog is trying to get a share of the food you are eating by pushing toward- or onto the table, make sure he can not succeed. There will be a moment where he gives up. Let’s say, he gets off the table, Having his front feed on the ground instead of up in the air. This is the moment we click/mark that behavior and toss a piece of food behind him, away from the table. An even better way is to have his bed in a distance you can easily toss the food onto after you clicked. Toss another piece while he is on the bed consuming the first one.
The reason for tossing the food away from the table is that behaviors are oriented in the direction reward is being engaged in, even though behavior has been marked correctly!
Very soon the presence of the food on the table will signalize to the dog that it is highly probable to get the food when going on the bed- away from the table.