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How do I train my dog to not eat unattended food?

I think it is normal behavior for a dog to eat unattended food. My roommates often leave their food unattended in another room and my dog will, of course, eat said food. It is causing problems between us. I have tried to train the humans not to leave their food unattended but that has proven impossible. I can never catch her in the act. Is it possible to train her not to eat unattended food and if so how might I go about that.

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14 Responses to “How do I train my dog to not eat unattended food?”

  1. CC said :

    You can go through training classes, but the best thing to do is take a talk with your room mate.

  2. BlaireIsMyBaby said :

    Um not to be a smart ass or anything like that, but simply clean up after yourselves. It will take a ton of time to train a dog not to eat food that is unattended.

  3. dean h said :

    If you can’t train your roommates to not leave food around, what do you suppose your chances of teaching a dog to NOT eat treats left for her?

  4. SpotsB4myeyes said :

    start with sit-stay. put treats on the floor. when he moves, say aaaah! and put him back in sit-stay. move to down-stay. do that until it sticks!

    10 minutes a day will do wonders!

  5. ♥ мóηι =^.^= said :

    Good luck with that. I have same issue with my dog and he’s so sneaky like he knows when to do it.. lol
    Now I just make sure I don’t leave any food just laying around the house. I think it’s the dog’s instinct to eat human food because I’m sure for them it tastes much better than their food. Talk to your roommate or just find another roommate.

  6. TonyWithLove said :

    It’s possible but not so simple. Perhaps the morons (roommates) will learn in time. For starters make sure they don’t leave anything that could possibly harm your dog around.

  7. su·i ge·ne·ris said :

    Teach the dog to lie down in another room when somebody puts their food down.

  8. DeeDawg said :

    well, there’s 2 ways to go about doing this.

    #1 is the smartest thing… train the room mates. people should not leave food around.

    #2- with the help of an EXPERIENCED trainer, you can use an e-collar to stimulate the dog when it attempts to eat unattended food. this is how i train my guard dogs in food refusal, so that they don’t get doped or poisoned by people who would break in…

  9. Apricot Snow Girl said :

    I would suggest getting more responsible roommates. Or moving out and getting a place of your own. See about buying a mobile home in a Mobile Home Park. You can often get Mobile Homes for less than $10,000.

  10. diamondsillusions said :

    be the pack leader….you eat first. so therefore your dog cant eat till you eat

  11. Agility Man said :

    1. Deal with the roomie. That’s the most important thing. Roomie needs to understand that stuff left laying around (lotion, food, antifreeze, open trash, wrappers) will entice most dogs.

    2. Don’t use a shock collar. Part of the issue is eating the unattended food. But part of it is also going into a room that your dog shouldn’t enter (where the food is). And as you pointed out, this problem is occurring when you aren’t around. So what you’ve taught your dog (and what most negative or correction teaches dogs) is: just don’t eat the unattended food when no-one is looking! See, dogs are terrible at generalizing. You think you’re teaching your dog “don’t eat that food” but for some dogs (and your’s is one) the lesson is “don’t let me SEE you eat that food”.

    And no, this has nothing to do with alpha status either. It sounds like roomie is snacking and leaving food around. This isn’t a dominance issue, just that dogs are natural scavengers.

    3. Play “doggie zen” with your dog. You can find details at and the basic principle is: the dog doesn’t get the food until the dog doesn’t want the food. It teaches self-control (which applies to a lot more than food) and restraint. It teaches your dog that the best way to get food even more food is to not go for the first food you see.

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