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Hello! Our puppy is almost 4 months old. He is a sweet, adorable little dog and we love him but we have one little issue...he goes SPASTIC during meal times, not his meals but OUR meals. Im a stay at home mom of two boys so we eat three meals a day at home and snacks for the boys too. I know he is just a puppy and he is learning his manners but Im at a loss as to how to help stop his behaviour during meals. He jumps on us and the table (he is already big enough to get his front paws and head on the table!) I cant let them have snacks in the living room without him litterally spazzing out and doing darn near anything to get at the snack so Ive started putting him in his crate or the bathroom with a toy and a treat to keep him busy while we eat or my boys eat. He is fine with that, (he LOVES his crate) but will he be destined to be that way forever?? How can I get him to stop jumping and taking our food and getting so hyper during meal times? Thanks so much for any advice!
 

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I'm having the same issue with Gabbar who is a week away from being 4 months old. Gabbar paws his way up to our faces, sniffing and pawing at us to get at our plate. A firm sit is not working. He sometimes gets so frustrated that he barks at us when we are eatting or mouths my elbow. We ignore him, no eye contact or touch. He eventually settles down.
I'm curious to the advice people give here.
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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How long are his down stays?
 

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I haven't had the exact problem that you have had but my puppy who turned 16 weeks old today kept walking around and not settling down while I was preparing meals, eating and cleaning away so I crated him. However, for the past month I have found giving him something to chew on (he loves bully straps) has kept him occupied for about an hour so be stays basically in one place; normally in the family room but recently by my feet at the table while I eat. Even when he has been by my feet he has basically been ignoring what I'm doing and keeps on chewing. If he starts getting up (I don't want to follow him around) I put him in a down stay - lasts about 5 minutes at a time right now, if I count when he goes into a sit, it's about 10 minutes

So try giving him something interesting to do while you eat, practice your down stay or sit stay If that doesn't help then crating him is the best option.
 

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We crate our dogs at dinner time when they are pups. It's just too much hassle to have them going crazy when you're eating, IMO. I don't want to spend my dinner training and washing my hands, then eating, training, re-washing hands, etc etc. Plus, I don't see any benefit to losing my cool with my dogs when I can just as easily prevent the situation, so that's why we crate them. Chloe is almost 18 months and we started leaving her out during our meals at about a year old. Jack was better, probably about 7-8 months old. Kira is not even close at 13 weeks :)
 

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While our puppy (5.5 mo) is a confirmed countersurfer, he does not bother us during dinner. From the very beginning, we have not talked, touched, nor looked at him during a meal. (Well, as much as humanly possible.) He might wander a bit at our feet, but eventually goes to his bed in the corner. If we leave the table - he thinks it's fair game. So don't go putting your plate on the table and walking away!

The book My Smart Puppy talks about the concept of "Space." The dog needs to learn to stay out of your space. There are some good exercises in the book about learning Space. My puppy seems to understand what's my space when I'm in it, but not when I'm not in it. So for example, he rarely countersurfs while I'm actually preparing food, but if I move away he thinks he can move in. Interesting to think about.

Now the family room is different. It's just beyond his training at the moment. Mostly because he thinks the couch is no different from the floor and wherever we are, he should be there, too. Sometimes I can eat a few crackers if I am holding them all in my hand and not leaving them on the side table. I think it will be a few months before I try eating from a plate in there.

Another thing we want to train by haven't yet is Go. That would let us make him leave the room on command. We did train him Back to step back a few steps (like out of the refrigerator). He doesn't always comply, but he's getting better.
 

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Do you have any kibble dispensing toys? We feed the boys 1/2 their kibble in a bowl and the other 1/2 in a toy. It keeps them busy and out of the kitchen.

There are tons to choose from. Buster Cube, Wobbler, Starmark Bob a Lot (fav!), fire plug, nibble kibble, kongs, kong genius, linkables, etc. We have them all! LOL
 

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Riot's mom
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I think putting him in his crate is a good solution. I don't see anything wrong with that. Our golden is a year and a half and he has been trained to "place" whenever we are eating. His bed is elevated so it has defined borders that he knows he has to stay on. It is probably the BEST command we have ever taught him, just because it is so useful. Now, when food comes out, he runs to his place because he knows he is going to get a treat.
 

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If you don't want to crate him, then you can try teaching a "Place" command. In the early stages of teaching this, I would tether Cookie to a doorway, so if she broke her stay, she wouldn't be rewarded with table surfing. It takes some time, but we use "Place" whenver we eat...or the kids are snacking...or the dishwasher is getting loaded... :)
 

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Dinner in my house used to be a nightmare! She would jump up and steel our food. My pup ate my 3yr old daughters dinner pretty much every night. I tried to crate her but that did not work. Everytime I put her in the crate she pooped. Then of course she would eat it or step in it and get it all over. I tried bringing the crate into the kitchen so she could see us but that didn't work either. I didn't want her by the table when we were eating but it turns out that is the only thing that worked for us. I taught her that if she sits calmly next to me she would get something. I give her no salt added green beans. She is almost 9 months old now and it has been a few months since she has tried to jump up. As soon as I get dinner out she goes right by my chair and does not move until I get up to clear the table. I went through alot of green beans at first but now I give her one every couple minutes and she is very happy with that. As for eating in the living room we just don't do it anymore. I couldn't find a way to make it work with my kids and I decided it wasn't worth it they could eat in the kitchen. Good luck!
 

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Jill -- Maisie's "Mom"
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Similar Idea to Place Command

Maisie and I are just starting a basic obedience class. Some of the pups are as young as 5 months so this may apply to your dog. The trainer gave us the following as homework for the first week: once a day, sit on a chair with your dog on a short leash by your side on the floor. The dog shouldn't have a toy or treats. You should read or watch TV and not pet or give the pup attention. Stay there for 30 minutes. Do this at least 5 of 7 days. The idea is for the dog to learn to "chill out" while you do something else. (Sorry if some of you have read this suggestion elsewhere -- I posted it as a suggestion yesterday.)
 

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We followed the suggestion from the book,The art of raising a puppy. We wanted Finnegan to be part of dinner time as we have an open concept house. We used a leash, had Finn lay down beside someone at the table, with little slack on the leash and kept reinforcing lay down. It worked very well and he does lay beside the table during meal times.The leash went under the chair leg so we did not have to hold it.
 

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We followed the suggestion from the book,The art of raising a puppy. We wanted Finnegan to be part of dinner time as we have an open concept house. We used a leash, had Finn lay down beside someone at the table, with little slack on the leash and kept reinforcing lay down. It worked very well and he does lay beside the table during meal times.The leash went under the chair leg so we did not have to hold it.
This is what we have done in the past.
 
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