So, What Counts as Attention-Seeking Dog Behaviour?
Although it’s normal for puppies to jump up at you 24/7, or whine when you leave them unattended, it’s not healthy to see these behaviours in older dogs. If your dog is disproportionately begging, whining, barking, nudging, stealing, jumping on furniture, or constantly bringing you their favourite toy, then they’re attention-seeking. These may seem like harmless dog antics, but excessive attention-seeking behaviour can be exhausting for owners, as well as potentially dangerous around kids or older people. It could also mean that they never learned to be truly happy in their own company, and no one likes the thought of their pet being miserable whenever they leave the house.
Here’s Why Your Dog Wants Constant Attention
Certain breeds are predisposed to attention-seeking behaviours. Friendly dogs that enjoy the company of other people and other dogs are far more likely to paw at you for attention.
Secondly, attention-seeking is a trained behaviour. Though you may not have intentionally trained them to seek your attention, you have given them some response (either negative or positive) whenever they do something, you don’t like for your attention.
So, they know if they bite the sofa, or paw at the door, they will get your attention. Now the solution to this is not so simple. Because ideally, you should stop paying attention to them, but then you also don’t want to ruin your perfectly good sofa because of their tantrum.
But why does your dog ask for constant attention? They are probably doing it for the following reasons:
Treatment ofÂ Attention Seeking Behavior in Dogs
Use of a “bridging stimulus” can help speed up successful treatment. A bridging stimulus is a neutral signal or cue that heralds a particular consequence. The actual stimulus could be the sound of a duck call or tuning fork or the sound made by striking a key on a piano. The noisemaker is sounded at the time the dog is engaging in the unwanted behavior to signal that the owner is about to withdraw attention, perhaps even leave the room. You must follow through after issuing the cue. It must always signal the immediate withdrawal of your attention or the dog will fail to make an association between its unwanted behavior and the inevitable consequence.
What the bridging stimulus does is focus the dog’s attention on that point in time when attention withdrawal is imminent. It is not intended to be aversive but rather to be a consistent herald of what is to follow. Attention behavior will melt away more consistently and rapidly if a bridging stimulus is used than if attention withdrawal is employed on its own without such a signal.
Attention Seeking Behavior In Dogs
I am sure you will agree with me in the thought that small dogs are yappy and annoying. They tend to be really cute, which is good because when they start barking, it is enough to drive you insane.
When I picture a small dog, all I can see is a tiny little thing hopping up and down barking relentlessly. There could be a reason why small dogs tend to be so annoying. They may really just need more attention than they are getting. Continue reading to find out more.