If you want a nice house-dog, you will have to teach your puppy proper table manners. He must learn not to struggle when asked him to give up his food to you and not to take food that is not his. Teaching your puppy both of these aspects of good table manners early helps to prevent him from stealing food or biting over his own meal. Although these are not part of a dog’s natural instinct, if he is going to live with humans he must learn these lessons well. Your puppy must also learn other lessons that go against their natural inclinations so they will not become a threat to the families with which they live.
Each time you feed the puppy, say “Ok” as you set his dish in front of him. During the first few weeks, nothing significant will be observable, but the groundwork is being laid in place and being absorbed. Your pup is learning that he must receive permission from you before he can eat.
After just a few week of this training, set his bowl of food down, but don’t say ok or anything else at this time. If he waits for your permission, in 2 seconds tell him “Ok” and say “Good dog” than allow him to eat. However, if he attempts to eat immediately, take him by the collar and pull back gently telling him “No”. It may be necessary to repeat this exercise, but if he looks at you while waiting in 2 seconds tell him “Ok” and “Good dog” and let him eat.
Continue telling your puppy “Ok” each time he is fed. Have him wait for an “Ok” twice a week until it becomes his habit to wait for your permission to have his meal. Do continue saying “Ok” each time you feed him without the need to test every week. This should never become a contest of wills or be used to show off your ability to control your dog to your friends. Remember, you are using this training for your benefit and that of your dog’s not as a trick to prove your dog will not touch food unless you tell him to. The idea of teaching proper table etiquette is to prove to your dog that the food belongs to you not to him.
Within a month or so, your puppy will learn to wait on your “Ok” signal. As you teach him restraint, at times add food to the bowl with your bare hands while he’s eating. If the puppy growls as your hand gets near the bowl, tell him “NO!” and remove the dish. If he remains calm without growling, then you can add a treat to the dish and tell him “Ok, good boy”. You have successfully communicated to your puppy that it is not necessary for him to protect his food as is necessary when living in the wild once your puppy allows you to place your hand near his dish and accepts it when the dish is removed while waiting for your “Ok” to begin eating.
Dogs with good table manner are well on their way to becoming wonderful family members and are ready to start learning other things.