There are hundreds of different dog breeds out there all with different personalities, quirks, and needs. Although all canine companions seem to share a few key desires that most owners can recognize on a daily basis, their desire for attention is undoubtedly one of the strongest ones. Whether it is demanded through your furry buddy’s barking, gained by his persistent pawing, or earned through patience and good behavior - all dog owners can agree that their attention-loving dogs can be too much sometimes. So why do dogs want attention and how much of it should their owners give them on a daily basis?
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The Root of the Behavior
While all dogs share this need and desire for attention, some breeds are more social than others and require more attention to remain happy. Terriers, Labrador Retrievers, and English Springer Spaniels are great examples of friendly, attention-loving dogs that make excellent companions. On the other hand, they don’t do well with being left alone for extended periods of time and are also prone to separation anxiety. While they might need a bit more attention than the average dog, we have to remember that all dogs need regular human interaction to remain sane and happy. Make sure to dedicate enough time to your furry best friend on a daily basis by taking him on long walks, playing with him and including him in your activities as much as it is possible.
Encouraging the Behavior
Though it is completely normal and common for dogs to want attention, it is important to differentiate between their actual needs and unhealthy whims. The latter can often unintentionally lead to over pampering and rewarding neediness. Demand barking is one prime example of dogs extorting attention in an unhealthy way that should never be encouraged or given in to. In those cases, as hard as it may be, it is best to ignore the behavior entirely - even if sad puppy eyes and whimpering are involved.
Pawing, on the other hand, is an important communication tool that dogs use to get their needs across and those should not be ignored. Many owners find that the pawing behavior usually occurs when the dog actually needs something, though some dogs do overuse it from time to time. If your dog is patiently pawing you, make sure to check if the food and water bowls are filled or consider taking your dog for a walk, especially if the last trip to the bathroom was more than a few hours ago. Most often than not, your canine companion might actually be trying to tell you something important - for example, that he doesn’t want to stain your carpet.