Apparently, feeding your dog at the table is considered bad manners. Many are appalled by the sight of dogs lurking by the table. We stare at Cousin Brian until he is hypnotized to drop the drum stick. We heavy breathe over Aunt Edna’s plate because she’s too drunk to realize that our slime has seasoned her potatoes. My buddy, Masa the 155lb Bernard has advanced technique. He lays under the table and releases a deadly fart. The noxious fumes clear the guests out of the dining room, which allows the pack to snatch the turkey. Sal the labradoodle is known to snatch and run– public counter surfing requires radical finesse and speed. Through our scavenger instinct, we successfully score food out of pity, shame, guilt, or repulsion.

But it does not have to be this way. If proper etiquette was taught to us, we wouldn’t have to be so crass. Here’s how you can train your dog to be a proper Edwardian gentleman. For this instruction, we’ll use Archie, the four year old labradoodle at Dog City.

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● First and foremost, teach Archie to sit on a chair. The chair needs to be large enough to secure his butt so it feels steady and safe.

● It’s crucial that Archie climbs on the chair only on command. As you pull out the chair, pat on the seat and command “UP UP”. Praise profusely as his butt lands on the seat in proper seating position. Repeat this step until he is comfortable on the chair.

● Once he is comfortable with the idea of jumping on the chair and sitting, command “STAY”. This command is crucial, because we don’t want Archie to think that the chair is a ladder to get on the table. Move the chair closer to the table. The movement of the chair might make him nervous, so you’ll steady his body to stay put on the chair. The safer he feels on the chair, the more he is willing to stay put. The “STAY” also marks his boundaries to not go beyond the perimeter of the chair.

● Place a large cloth napkin around Archie’s neck. This is just for visual effect. Archie will have absolutely no use for this napkin.

● Place a plate in front of Archie and put a small morsel of food on it. “LEAVE IT”– he is not to touch it until he is released.

● Let him eat the morsel on the plate with a release command “OK Archie”.

● Praise him profusely if he keeps his forelegs on the chair and looks up to you for more. If he lifts his forelegs on the table, put his legs back on the chair and “STAY”.

● Continue to place small morsels on his plate “LEAVE IT”, and release with ‘OK”. You are teaching him to eat only on command.

● Practice this daily for a few minutes– preferably months before the holiday dinner party.

● Gradually add more food items on the table. Archie is to identify only what is placed on the plate in front of him as his, and eat only on command. This prevents him from thinking that big ham is his to score with brute force and speed.

● You can play around with placing his water bowl on the table. However, due to the splatter factor and the potential of giving germophobic guests an anxiety attack, it’s probably best to stick to dry food.

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If your dog masters table manners, he will be the center of attention– which means you’ll prevent Uncle Peter and Grandpa Joe from bickering about Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Creationism VS Darwinism? Who cares! Pass the exquisite minted peas please, my oh my Auntie Jennifer, you have truly outdone yourself this year my dear..