It’s okay to admit the difficult truth – we can’t be with our pups all the time. Our canine companions are bottomless sources of joy and love, but it’s impossible to spend every waking moment with them given the demands of everyday life. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for our furry friends to act out if we aren’t giving them attention, with negative behaviors like barking, jumping, chewing, and more. While it can be frustrating for everyone, there’s no need to panic.
Here’s a quick guide to addressing attention-seeking behaviors, compassionately and effectively.
Jumping. Dogs jump to show excitement, to greet, and to challenge, often because this action was rewarded with a reaction in the past. To address this attention-seeking behavior, turn your back on your pup when they try to jump. Once they have stopped jumping and are standing or sitting, offer affection and praise in a low, calm voice. Encourage friends and family to repeat this behavior – over time, your dog will understand that waiting, not jumping, will earn them the love and ear scratches they seek.
Barking. Our canine companions bark as a form of communication: they may be bored, scared, stressed, or wary of strangers. Regardless of the cause, they will continue to bark if they realize that barking gets them their desired outcome in a situation. By observing how and when your pup barks, you can determine how best to interact with them. Like jumping, you can start by ignoring your pooch until they quiet down, then reward them with affection and praise to drive home the message that calm, not barking, will get them the attention they are looking for.
Chewing. While chewing can be a healthy behavior for dogs, destructive chewing is a sign of boredom, too much energy, or even separation anxiety. Physical and mental exercise are vital to keeping your pup healthy, happy, and significantly less likely to do some damage to a couch cushion. Regular walks and playtime are great options when your schedule permits, but puzzle toys like the Kong can provide hours of stimulation even while you are away. Stay consistent, calm, and provide safe alternatives mental-stimulating toys to keep your furry friend occupied and happy while you are away.
As much as we love our pups, attention-seeking behavior can be frustrating to any pet owner. Fortunately, the same patience, understanding, and love we show with our human family members works just as well with our pups – and a little training goes a long way.
Contact your local Bark Busters trainer for help addressing these issues and other destructive behaviors with compassion and care by learning to speak dog the Bark Busters Way!