Encouraging good behaviour in a dog starts at the earliest opportunity and requires calm handling and consistency. However, you may have inherited an older dog or a rescue dog which has some persistent bad habits already and which may be a quite hard to break.
Begging at the dinner table requires all members of the family to not be seduced by big eyes and encouraging yelps into giving scraps at the dinner table. Everyone must be consistent in this at all times in order to break this habit. Try feeding your dog his own food in a different room or distracting him with a toy or marrow bone whilst the family is eating.
Pinching food from the table or work surface is a difficult habit to break as it is always rewarding for your dog! Make sure you never leave your dog alone with food that you are preparing or laying out, thus denying your pet the opportunity to thieve. Use a child’s stair gate, if necessary, to keep your dog away.
Chewing is natural for dogs since they explore the world around them and the objects in it with their mouths. However, you do not want your dog chewing on shoes or furniture or toys belonging to your children. When you find your dog doing this, distract him with something that he is allowed to chew and praise him at the same time.
As well as chewing, digging is also a natural behaviour for many canines. If your dog is keen to dig in the garden, make sure he has a clearly marked, designated part of the garden where he can do this. Praise him when he uses this area and make it more interesting for him by leaving out toys which he can bury to his heart’s content.