Demanding Behavior in Dogs

As a dog trainer, I am very patient with naughty dog behavior, but I will tell you that demanding and needy behavior in dogs drives me crazy! I need to be able to say “That’s Enough” when I’m done playing or petting my dog and have them lay quietly by me or walk away. Many owners have what they would consider needy or spoiled dogs. These dogs have learned that demanding behavior gets them attention. These dogs will often paw at you, whine, scratch your legs, jump on your lap when not invited or even bark at you. Luckily, this type of behavior is actually something that is quite easy to prevent and to fix.

Prevention: Simply only offer your dog attention and play on your terms. If they bark, whine, scratch, jump etc. completely ignore them. By completely ignore I mean don’t say no, or go away or push them away, simply do not talk to them, touch them or even look at them. If they are persistent, you may walk away or even go behind a closed door.

Fixing a Problem: The rules just need to change. Same as above, if they offer demanding behavior, do the opposite of what they want! Ignore them or walk away! They will get upset and likely try harder before finally giving up. This is called an extinction burst. Depending on how long your dog has been practicing the behavior, it may take a day or weeks before your dog fully understands that no matter how much demanding behavior they offer, they will not get what they want. You can also help them by soliciting attention from them when they are offering behavior that you enjoy, like laying on the floor by your feet or next to you on the couch without bothering you. As soon as you stop petting them, they may return to the demanding behaviors. Simply ignore or walk away again. Eventually your dog will learn that the only way to get the attention that they want is through polite behaviors.



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