Attention-seeking dog behavior

Attention-grabbing dog behavior is common – and a perfectly normal survival mechanism for puppies that rely entirely on their mother to take care of them. However, as adult dogs, excessive jumping, pawing, or barking is difficult to live with and can become annoying.

What counts as attention-grabbing dog behavior?

It is quite normal for your new pup to jump up at you when you greet them, feed them, or if you leave them alone, but continue to beg, poke, whine, bark excessively, jump on furniture, and bring you toys when they get older Well, be examples of attention-seeking.

All of this may seem harmless enough – and some dogs and breeds may be more “needy” than others – but excessive seeking for attention tends to point to deeper problems.

Why do dogs become attention seekers?

There are many reasons dogs become attention-seekers in the beginning – and one of the most common is because they get bored. This could be because they are not getting enough exercise, not getting enough mental stimulation, or really not getting enough attention from their owners.

Sometimes dogs that are left behind for extended periods of time become much more clingy when their owner is around, and what is perceived as an attention-seeking is actually a breakup-related problem.

Other dogs who lack confidence or are afraid may seek attention as contact with their owner will help them feel more secure.

And of course, there can be some things that you as the owner do to accidentally turn them into attention seekers!

Dogs value our attention and are naturally loving and social – that’s why we have them as pets! Every time your dog jumps up at you, paws on your leg, barks for no apparent reason, or drops a toy in your lap uninvited, it’s easy to reward them with a cuddle or a game. However, this means that the undesirable behavior will be amplified, and so your dog will do it more often. Only you can decide whether you like this interaction or see it as a problem.

Some dogs want to get their owner’s attention by stealing something and running away with it – and the more intense our reaction, the more attention your dog will feel. The more value the prize and the more they do it. This can be a great game for a smart dog!

Dog looks up

How to deal with attention-grabbing dog behavior

First, think for a while about whether your dog’s behavior is warranted. Are you getting enough exercise? Does the exercise they get give them opportunities for their racial hardwired behavior and energy? Do they have a lot of mental stimulation – especially for intelligent races? Do you spend enough time with them?

If you don’t provide your dog with what he needs for physical and mental exercise and social interactions, he can hardly be blamed for making himself self-employed!

Once you are certain that your dog does not have every reason to seek your attention, you can begin to reduce the excessive attention-seeking behavior.

What is important, however, is that you reward your dog for doing what you want him to do. A sad fact for many dogs is that the only way to get their owner’s attention is to do something that their owner thinks is “wrong”. Many people completely ignore their dog when they sit or lie still doing exactly what they want them to do, and the only time they are in the center of their owner’s world is when they are doing something they don’t want them to – like jumping on them barking, jumping on them, chewing things they shouldn’t, running away with something valuable … All to get their beloved owners to give them some attention.

And of course, our dogs are worth our attention, and once they figure out how to get attention, they will keep doing it – because it works!

How to prevent or stop attention-grabbing behaviors:

  • Don’t ignore your dog when he’s good. Give them your attention when they do what you want. Reward good behavior so they know exactly how to get your attention. Generally, if a dog is seeking your attention at the wrong time, it is because you are not giving him enough of it at the right time.
  • If you are certain that your dog does not have the right to expect more attention from you, completely ignore him when he is doing something you do not want (if it is safe to do so). Don’t interact with them, talk to them, or even look at them until the behavior stops.
  • If you ignore these behaviors, they will stop (although they may escalate first!) Because they don’t get the effect you want, i.e. get your attention.
  • When the behavior stops, you have to be very quick to reward your absence. Reward what you like and ignore what you don’t want. Don’t be tempted to betray or push your dog away – it will get him noticed!
  • If the behavior is unsafe to ignore (nibbling guests, jumping on kids, terrorizing grandma, etc.), use house lines and baby gates to remove your dog from the scene without any interaction from you.
  • If you know your dog is likely to be bothering you, you can give him a chew or a food-filled toy to distract him and give him something to keep him occupied and break the habit

With a little patience, understanding, and management, you can prevent attention-grabbing behaviors. However, if you are struggling to get a grip on this, contact an accredited and experienced behavioral scientist.

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