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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).
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.

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.
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.

How do people make their dogs wait for meals?
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.
 

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I’m curious, when he stole and then ate an entire pork roast and the side dishes from your neighbors garden, how did he get into their garden in the 1st place? Did you take him over, or was he running through the neighborhood unleashed/unsupervised?

If you were visiting and also in the garden, then you had the opportunity to control him. Wondering why neighbors and presumably you, watched all of that happen without intervening? If he was running the neighborhood unsupervised, well that is also not advisable.

As a teacher, I have to ask, are you embellishing your stories to make for very humorous escapades? His escapades and your responses to them read like a fun children’s story...The Escapades of Murphy The Golden Retriever

Just asking because I truly don’t know if you’re serious??!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
.. how did he get into their garden in the 1st place?
He was invited.

One challenge is that people have one of two reactions: run away, or give him a hug and comment on how adorable he is. This means practically every stranger he meets gives him a cuddle, and that means he becomes excited at merely seeing new strangers.

.. are you embellishing your stories to make for very humorous escapades?
No :(

I am of course not recounting the more boring escapades.
 

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Here you go -- teaching your dog to wait. By the way, this Youtube channel (McCann Dogs) is full of helpful dog training information. Be patient -- it isn't instant and be encouraging. With the waiting for food command, you eventually only have to give the release command (I use "okay" for this.) Logan auto sits when I put his bowl down on his food mat, and then he automatically makes eye contact with me (I taught him this) and waits for me to release him with "okay!" It's great to teach them to wait as you exit or enter a doorway also -- no barging out ahead of you. He also waits until I say okay to jump out of a car. It's a very helpful command for all sorts of applications.

Wait
 

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He should not be fed what you’re eating as a reward for waiting. You are enforcing his behavior.

If he whines while you’re eating, this is a result of poor training. If you can’t supervise him and he does not relax while you’re eating, remove him from the situation and use the crate.

if you refuse to do the above, you’ll have a dog that whines and begs for human food because he’s used to getting his way. If you want him to behave while you’re eating, work on a place command if you refuse to crate him.

everything you describe is normal for a puppy, but training is what you need.

Your first post in this thread says you give him food when he cries - That is reinforcing the behavior, even if you think it’s what you need to do to quiet him.

Meals should be fed at specific times - if he doesn’t eat during that time, pick it up and he gets the next meal. He will learn that YOU are in charge of the food and not the other way around.

If you don’t manage these now, you’ll be dealing with a large puppy with zero manners and zero impulse control when he reaches his teenage stage. If you haven’t done your research on that, I’d highly recommend reading some of the threads here to see what you can expect. The teenage stage is very trying and you’ll be pulling your hair out even more than you were with a 3 month old puppy trying to reinforce good, basic obedience.

Impulse control is not only around food, but applies to proper greetings, manners, etc., all things you have mentioned in past posts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
It's really not a problem. He cleans up after us and reduces our food waste, which makes us a better household all round. Yesterday he polished off our leftover chicken and rice.

Lots of other owners seem to have a problem with their dog begging at the table, but he has learned that is a wasted effort. He lies down and quietly waits his turn (y)

The only thing he does that is a bit odd is survey the food before we eat - maybe he is calculating whether that food worth waiting for?

His size and health seem spot on, and everyone has a different opinion on nutrition. One trainer told us to stop feeding him lunch at 5 months old because he was structurally a big GR, big paws and all, but he was not overweight and withholding food to control how his DNA expresses itself seems to me inhumane.

Overall he is a very handsome GR. I should post a picture but with my full-time job all the time he gets is spent on exercise so rarely stop for photos these days. Same trainer said I shouldn't exercise a puppy much but if I don't he exercises himself, so what difference does it make?

(Only difference I see is that his self-exercise includes rearranging furniture, flooring, etc. We have a ball of wool in the garden that used to be an indoor carpet, found chewed vinyl floor panels outside, and we found wood on our floor that used to be a garden tree - but that last point has now improved as he learned he is only welcome indoors if he leaves the garden outside).
 
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