When Your Dog Begs For Food, Watch Their Body Language

More Fascinating Facts About Dog Behavior


Dog stares at food while owner tries to eat, averts gaze when owner looks at dog (calming signals, “submissive” behaviors)

This dog would very much like to possess whatever it is the human is eating. However, the food is clearly in possession of the human, so all the dog can do is look. And look. And LOOK.

Our dogs are always “listening” to us

This is a beautiful little dance, and not just because the dog is very cute. It shows how very “in tune” dogs are to humans, how much they are listening to us even when we aren’t talking aloud. To get an idea of how sensitive the dog is to the human’s body posture and facial expressions, take a look at exactly when the dog starts to look away. The dog’s head starts moving almost at the same time the human’s head does — the dog doesn’t even wait for the human to actually turn his head, and starts turning away almost the second the man’s head *begins* to turn. The dog is actually much slower turning back to look at the food than it is to turn away from the human.

This turning away of the head (it’s hard to tell, but the dog is probably also looking deliberately away from the human when he turns his head away, too) is a signal that the dog doesn’t want to actually have an argument about the food. It’s a clear “Let’s not fight” sign. So is avoiding eye contact.

Another interesting thing is that the dog’s ears go forward in interest when it’s looking at the food, and back in a curious kind of “ponytail” arrangement (with the backs of the ears pointed toward each other, and the bases drawn together towards the middle of the head) — that indicates some indecision on the dog’s part.

Hmmm…should I continue staring (and begging)? Wander casually off? Grab the food and run? What to do?”

Does your dog beg at the table? How do you handle it?