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Ask the Trainer: My Dog Constantly Barks At Me For Attention

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Puppybarking

Dear Kevin,
Chai is a 5 month old puppy who barks at us for attention. A habit I would like to break. It is like she is yelling at us. What should we
do?
-Denise

Hi Denise,
Attention seeking behaviors like this can definitely get annoying. The first thing I do is make sure that the pup’s needs have all been taken care of. Has she received mental and physical stimulation? Has she had food and water? Does she have to go out? Has she received sufficient interaction from you and the other humans? Dogs are typically very social beings.

If the answer was “yes” to all of those questions than I recommend giving her something productive to do. Maybe give her an interactive toy. An interactive toy contains something awesome that she will have to work for to get it out. You could stick some peanut butter in a toy that has a hole in it. You could also go out and purchase interactive toys. There are a lot of different options out there. This can work though because she will put her efforts forth in trying to gain the yummy treat instead of looking for attention from you.

Also, if you answered “yes” you could teach a down/stay and reward her for staying there. For instance, if you’re watching TV and she is just sitting there whining, cue her to down, and then reward her periodically for staying in the position. In the beginning you may be rewarding very often, but you should pretty quickly be able to start spreading them out.

If you answered “no” to my initial questions, I highly recommend all those needs are taken care of first.

Here is a video of my dog using a Monster Ball made by Jolly Pets to give you an idea of how use an interactive toy:

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