Tips to Reduce Attention-Seeking Behavior in Dogs

Tips to Reduce Attention-Seeking Behavior in Dogs

Does your dog bark when you're on the phone, paw at you during TV time, or jump on you when you arrive home? These are common signs of attention-seeking behavior, your dog's way of reminding you they're there!

Such behaviors might start off harmless but can soon turn into significant issues that test your patience and strain your relationship with your pet. What causes these behaviors to develop, and what can you do to curb them?

Attention-seeking behaviors are actions dogs use to get noticed by humans, like barking, whining, jumping, pawing, or mouthing. These behaviors can quickly become irritating if they successfully capture your attention.

What Causes Attention-Seeking Behavior in Dogs?

According to veterinarians, these behaviors start as trial-and-error communication attempts. Dogs experiment with various actions to see which ones prompt a response from their owners.

For instance, if barking while you're on the phone gets you to interact with them, even just to quiet them, they'll learn that this behavior works. It doesn't take long for your dog to realize that barking whenever you're on the phone is an effective way to gain your attention. This is how a simple behavior turns into a persistent problem.

Tips To Stop Your Dog’s Attention - Seeking Behavior

Addressing your dog's attention-seeking will take time and patience. Initially, their behavior may even worsen as they escalate their efforts—what worked before, like whining, they'll try harder.

It’s important to stay consistent and patient. Here are some strategies to help manage your dog's behavior:

1. Reward Good Behavior

Encourage behaviors you want by rewarding alternatives. For instance, if your dog jumps when you come home, teach them to sit as a greeting instead. Reward them for this behavior to reinforce it. If they seek play, teach them to bring a toy instead of using less desirable methods like mouthing.

2. Ignore Unwanted Behavior

While teaching your dog new ways to communicate, it’s crucial to not reinforce negative behaviors. Ignore attempts to get your attention such as barking or jumping, but ensure this is fair.

Vet Doctors advises making sure your dog's basic needs are met and that they aren’t in pain or unwell before choosing to ignore their attention-seeking. Start by ignoring for brief periods, like thirty seconds, and gradually increase the duration.

3. Control the Environment

Managing your dog's environment can prevent unwanted behaviors. For example, provide a chew toy before starting a phone call or use another room to make calls to avoid triggering their attention-seeking. By avoiding situations that trigger these behaviors, you help your dog succeed.

4. Provide Enrichment

Meeting your dog’s needs reduces their need to seek attention. Establish a predictable routine for walks, playtime, and meals. Introduce activities like puzzle toys or snuffle mats to keep them engaged and mentally stimulated, giving them less reason to seek attention inappropriately.

Disclaimer: Joyride Harness is not affiliated with medical professionals. Consult your veterinarian with any medical concerns. 

This is just a sampling of informational roundups we offer at Joyride Harness. You can find more tips and tricks and how-to’s for caring for your dog on our blog at this section. Feel free to leave a comment with things you’re looking for!


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