Dog demands too much attention: causes and five tips that help
Dogs usually like to be noticed and quickly learn how to get the attention of their favorite human. As long as your dog does not exaggerate the attention-seeking, it is also not bad. Sometimes the four-legged friend wants to communicate something important. However, problems can arise if the behavior gets out of hand because the pet is perceived as a nuisance.
You should not underestimate the intelligence of dogs. If the dog’s brain is not challenged enough, boredom will develop – and the four-legged friend will demand excessive attention to let you know.
Mistakes in education can likewise lead to the fact that your dog constantly barks for attention. Only clear rules can help here – however, your dog can only understand them if they are really “real” rules. This means that they should not be watered down by exceptions and inconsistency.
So, if the dog is under-challenged or not well trained, there may be exaggerated demands for attention from the pet. Here’s what you can do about it:
- nip it in the bud with consistent training.
Dogs have a variety of ways to get your attention. The foundation for undesirable, attention-seeking behavior is laid in puppyhood. Then the bad manners of the four-legged friend are not yet so disturbing and are pretty cute. You stroke your little bundle of fur delightedly when it jumps up at you? Then later, it will most likely jump up at all kinds of people to be petted.
The puppy begs and perseveres at the dinner table with his heart-warming puppy-dog eyes? If he gets a bite because of it, he’ll keep trying. If your dog is allowed to tear up the previous day’s newspaper for fun and is rewarded with attention, he may not stop at important files or homework books.
These are examples of inconsistencies in dog training that lead to your dog not knowing what he is allowed to do and what not. And finally, he does what brings him the most attention, that is, the most rewarding for him. It does not matter whether your reaction is friendly or angry. For the animals, the main thing is that they are paid attention to.
So that it does not come at all so far, you should enforce already with sweet puppies consistently rules and allow no exceptions.
- find causes: Why does the dog want attention all day?
Sometimes dogs want to attract attention, and the concentration of their favorite human is rewarded enough for them. This is then usually due to the training mentioned above errors. The behavior has taken on a life of its own. Nevertheless, it is advisable to stop for a moment and consider whether the dog might not have another reason to draw attention to itself.
For example, four-legged friends who feel under-challenged, bored, and underutilized often exhibit destructive, undesirable behavior. This happens because they have nothing better to do and realize that they are causing a reaction on your part, which interrupts the boredom at that moment.
However, if your dog also looks pretty stressed and panicky, especially when you leave him alone, it may also be separation anxiety that he is trying to draw attention to. In addition, sick or injured animals try to hide their pain so that their suffering sometimes manifests itself only as a change in behavior or nature. If you have any doubts about whether your four-legged friend is just crying out for attention or is trying to communicate something, take the precaution of going to the vet and having him checked out.
- dog constantly wants attention: offer alternatives for unwanted behavior
When you teach your dog what he cannot do, you should always offer him an alternative for desired behavior. Otherwise, your four-legged friend will not know how to behave and be confused. For example, teach him to gnaw on his chew bone and romp with his toys, but leave paper, shoes, and furniture alone. Reward him when he lies down in his basket to rest instead of jumping on the sofa.
- ignore an unwanted behavior, reward good behavior
You can teach your alternative dog behaviors by consistently ignoring any bad behavior and rewarding any good behavior. If your four-legged friend jumps up at you, turn away and pay no attention to him, even with a little sideways glance as soon as your four-legged friend stays calm with all four paws on the ground or sits down, pet and praise him. Perhaps also give him a treat. He then gets attention for desired behavior and is punished – through negative reinforcement – with the withdrawal of attention if he does not follow the rules.
Here it is essential that you remain consistent and permanently. If you give in even once, your dog will learn that he only has to nag you long enough to get what he wants. His behavior may even get worse as a result. If you don’t trust yourself to strictly enforce the rules, get help from an experienced dog trainer or animal psychologist.
- keep your dog busy and avoid boredom
Boredom is probably to blame for demanding attention if you have trained your dog consistently and are in good health. The only thing that helps is to keep him busy so that he doesn’t get any ideas.
For example, bring him food or an intelligence game, start a dog sport or teach him tricks. Of course, the activities should always be adapted to your dog’s nature, temperament, breed-typical characteristics, and preferences and should be neither too strenuous nor too easy.