As SRW said earlier, your dog is agitated during mealtimes BECAUSE you give him leftovers afterwards. As your previous posts have indicated, this is a dog that hasn't been trained to respect his humans, and so he behaves like a brat at every possible opportunity. You're letting him bully you into giving him food. I don't understand why you would do that.Our puppy is agitated when we try to eat. We have never given him food directly from our plates. He is fed before we eat, and his treat for letting us finish our meals is that we give him left overs (via the kitchen and dog bowl).
Same question: why are you letting him do this? You're able to describe in detail what he does when he steals food, which suggests that you're standing by and watching him without intervening. In another post you say you've watched him peeling the fruit he's stolen. Again, I don't understand why you would do this. Stealing food is self-rewarding behaviour. Once a dog understands that, of course he's going to keep stealing. This isn't a dog failure, it's a management failure. If you sit by and watch, the behaviour is going to get worse. Suggestions: Don't leave anything stealable on the counter or the table. If he even looks at the counter or table, give him a negative consequence. If he manages to steal something, remove it immediately - don't just let him eat it. Don't allow him in the kitchen or dining area. Or allow him, but tie him up or keep him in a crate when you're eating, so he can't interrupt you. If he's too noisy, crate him somewhere else in the house during mealtimes. Etc.We make Murphy Sit if we are eating in the same room, and we give his treat when we finish. He complies with this approach for a few minutes before thrashing toys with frustration; the process of returning him to a Sit (before he escalates from grabbing toys to grabbing us) causes a lot of meal interruptions and my wife is fed up.
(...) He takes any food he can reach, and he can reach anywhere we can reach - he puts both front paws on our human counters, then stretches his body and a paw to pull things off. We can no longer have an open fruit bowl because he takes apples, oranges, bananas, etc.
By training them. You're approaching dog training as a series of separate problems, each occurring in its own vacuum, when in fact training an overall process and management system that you implement in different situations. Everything you've described is happening because you've allowed your dog to take charge and become a brat. It can be funny during puppyhood. But believe me, it won't be funny when he reaches maturity and starts reinforcing his superiority by biting. Or when he steals something that makes him sick or kills him. To answer your question: I don't teach my dogs specifically to wait for meals. I teach them that I decide what they do and when they do it. Meals are one part of that. Get your dog into formal obedience training. Teach him to obey commands consistently, in different contexts. Learning is cumulative. Once a dog has learned to obey one command consistently, he can learn others in the same way. More importantly, he'll start looking to you for guidance, instead of taking control and doing what he wants. If he can wait to go through a door, or wait to get on a chair, or sit and stay, then he can wait for his meal. If he can sit quietly in your office while you're working, then he can sit quietly in the kitchen while you're eating. The food isn't the problem here: it's the lack of respect for you that's the problem. You're giving in and letting him have or do whatever he wants. Stop doing that and start training him properly, and most of your problems will resolve.How do people make their dogs wait for meals?