Why Collies Beg (How To Train Your Collie To Stop Begging)

You can stop your collie from begging by teaching them basic obedience commands and rewarding good behaviors.

Collies learn quickly and are people pleasers. Take time to train your collie to learn that begging will not provide them with treats or attention. Reward them for desired behaviors and your furry beggar will soon be a thing of the past.

Why do collies beg?

All behavior is communication and begging is just your collies way of telling you that they want something. Collies beg for a variety of different reasons outlined below.

1: Begging for Food

This is the most common reason for begging behavior. Collies are scavengers and do not understand they can not consume unlimited amounts of food. Begging for food is a natural instinct relating back to their wolf ancestors when food was scarce and so any spare scraps are enthusiastically eaten in case the next meal is not as plentiful.

Collies may beg for food out of habit. They are the smartest breed on the planet and know how to get what they want. If you give your collie food when they are incessantly begging in a desperate attempt to appease them, you are simply reinforcing the begging behavior.

Your collie will soon figure out the more begging they do, the more treats they get. If you give your collie a treat when they beg you are reinforcing that begging equates to yummy snacks and the begging behaviors continue.

You might notice your collie appears to have a ‘sad’ expression. In fact, your collie has no idea of what being ‘sad’ is. They’re playing you. They will use their ‘sad’ face to get food as they know using this expression has got them a tasty treat in the past.

Like humans, when dogs eat flavorful snacks it triggers their pleasure centers in their brains. Your collie doesn’t understand that certain foods that taste great are actually pretty bad for them. They just want a bottomless food bowl of tasty delights and so will always beg for more.

2: Begging For Attention

Collies are highly emotional beasts and they require a lot of attention.

If your collie feels left out or alone they will beg for your attention. This can be common if your routine has changed and you can no longer give your collie the same amount of attention as they were previously getting.

Begging for attention may also be the result of a new baby or partner and your collie feels like they are no longer your number one.

Collies are naturally attention seekers as they were bred to work so closely with their humans they have a stronger bond than other breeds. Every time your collie invades your personal space and you reward them with a kiss or a cuddle it is reinforcing that begging for attention results in attention.

3: Begging To play

Collies love to play and will beg for attention if they do not get enough mental stimulation.

Some collies would play 24/7 and like they don’t have an off switch.

Collies are loyal and loving creatures and are probably just begging to play to spend some more quality time with you. You are your collie’s world and they love you so much they would play with you all day if you let them.

4: Begging Because They are bored

Collies are super intelligent and without adequate mental stimulation and physical exercise they start to deploy their attention seeking antics.

Without enough physical exercise and mental stimulation your collie will have a lot of built up energy and they look to you as their entertainment package to provide them with immediate attention.

What does it look like when collies beg?

There are a few ways your collie might beg, these include:

  • Whining and crying.
  • Putting their head on you.
  • Shoving their toys in your lap.
  • Staring at you with ‘sad eyes’.
  • Barking at you.
  • Licking you incessantly.
  • Sitting on their hind legs.
Luna knows her big sad eyes tug at my heartstrings

How to train your collie not to beg

There are a few ways to train your collie not to beg. Lets look at a few below.

1: Obedience Training

When your collie lies down or sits rather than begging, praise them and provide them with a tasty high value treat.

Reward the good, obedient behavior that you like and ignore their begging behaviors.

Your collie will soon learn that they get rewarded for following commands and that begging gets them nothing. They are smart dogs and it wont take long for them to catch on!

2: Share your food

Collies can be greedy and their begging can get worse and worse as your plate empties, as their fear that they wont get a piece of the delicious cuisine intensifies.

If you always save a little bit of food from your own plate they know they don’t need to beg every time you eat.

This makes your collie feel that they are part of your pack and they know you will always share your spoils with them and help them feel included.

3: Ignore them!

When you can feel your collie is about to start pestering you with their begging behavior, just ignore them!

Collies thrive on human interaction and begging may be a strategy your collie deploys to get this attention even at the most inappropriate times.

Ignoring them will teach them that begging is not a useful strategy to get attention from you.

4: Provide mental stimulation

Providing your collie with a high quality mental stimulation toy can stop them begging for food.

Stuffing a Kong Wobbler with high value treats can keep your collie’s busy mind occupied and allow you some respite from their bothersome begging behavior.

This is also a good option if your collie is begging for reasons other than food as they thrive on mind games and love having a job to do, even if it’s just chewing on their Kong to get to the treats inside.

Luna prefers her stuffed Wobbler over begging for measly scraps

5: Feed your collie at the same time you are eating

Feeding your collie at the same time you are eating will help prevent begging if they have their own delicious dinner to tuck into.

Make sure you are providing your collie with a high quality kibble that they will enjoy, or they may prefer hanging around you waiting to see if you happen to drop a bit of your own meal.

6: Use a crate

If your collie is crate trained, teach them meal times are when they should go to their own cozy crate.

Giving your collie a high quality treat of their own will help them accept the crate and be happy to wait there while you eat. A stuffed Kong usually goes down well!

As soon as you are finished eating, praise your collie for their patience so that they know the crate is not being used as a punishment.

7: Separate yourself from your collie

Removing your collie from a room where food is being consumed will prevent begging from occurring in the first place.

If your collie does not use a crate and sticks to you like a shadow, try putting them in a separate room.

If your collie gets separation anxiety when they are alone, you can leave the door open by using a dog gate. This allows you to keep an eye on your dog from a distance while ensuring your collie wont feel excluded from their family unit as they will still be able to see you, but won’t be able to beg.

Collie Climbing Stairs in Slow Moti... x
Collie Climbing Stairs in Slow Motion

About the author:

About the author:

Hollie and Border Collie

 

Howling and Growling Editor

 

Howling and Growling Editor

I'm an experienced collie owner from Scotland and the original founder of Howling and Growling. Wherever I go, my beloved collie Luna is never far behind!

Learn More about me and Luna's story on the about page!