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Attention-Seeking Behavior: Nuisance or Necessary?

Author: Alison Spanner | Date: March 16, 2013

Let’s talk Attention-Seeking Behavior.  What is it?  Well, first and foremost, it’s annoying!

I think we would be hard pressed to find a dog owner who hasn’t been annoyed by one or all of the following behaviors:

  • Pawing or nuzzling your arm
  • Whining
  • Jumping up on you
  • Barking
  • Staring

In reality, some attention-seeking behavior serves a necessary purpose.

Attention-seeking behaviors have evolved evolutionarily in the dog because as pets they require human interaction to live successfully.  Therefore, there are times when attention-seeking behaviors are perfectly normal and necessary, such as when the dog is suffering from a full bladder, hunger or fear, etc.

However, dogs quickly learn the same behaviors that work when there is an actual need ALSO work to get their person’s attention when they are simply bored, impatient or frustrated.

It is important when addressing attention seeking behaviors to determine if they are necessary or nuisance.

When your dog is displaying attention-seeking behavior, first consider whether you have met your dog’s basic needs? If your answer is no, consider the behaviors necessary and attempt to determine what your dog needs. If your answer is yes, then you are facing nuisance attention-seeking behavior, which, if left to fester can become a challenging behavior to stop.  Keep an eye out for my next blog post next month. I will discuss specific ways to stop nuisance attention-seeking behavior.

What attention-seeking behaviors do you see in your own dog? Share them here.


    1. […] In my blog last month, I discussed attention-seeking behavior.  There are two types of attention seeking behavior: necessary and nuisance.  Here, I will discuss why nuisance attention-seeking behavior persists and what to do to stop it. […]

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