Trainer reveals three things you can do to improve your demanding dog’s behavior and help them feel more relaxed

Dog jumping up and putting paws on man's leg who is working at his laptop in kitchen
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Have you ever had one of those days where you struggle to get anything done because your canine companion is constantly demanding your attention? If so, you're not alone.

Whether it's trying to figure out how to stop a dog from jumping up or searching for ways to put an end to incessant barking, there are a lot of frustrating attention-seeking behaviors that a dog will often engage in due to an unmet need or because it's a learned pattern of behavior. 

Thankfully, Piper Novick, founder and head trainer at Happy Dogs Training, has put together a handy Instagram post aimed at helping dog owners to deal with some of the more challenging attention-seeking behaviors. You can check out the post in full below or read on for a summary of her three-step process to a less demanding and calmer dog. 

Novick says that there are several reasons a dog may engage in attention seeking behaviors with the most common one's being arousal issues, lack of stimulation, a health issue or insufficient exercise (check out our guide to how much exercise do dogs need for more on this). 

In order to stop your dog engaging in demanding behaviors, Novick says you first need to determine the cause and function of the behavior. "If your dog wants attention then getting your attention is the function and if you give it to him you reinforce that behavior."

Once you have a bit of background information on why your dog is doing what they're doing, Novick advises pet parents follow three simple steps to start to turn things around.

1) Don't reinforce the behavior: "Do this by ignoring the behavior and removing the reinforcer. For example, dog jumps for attention = turn your back and remove your attention. Dog barks for you to throw the ball = ignore the barking and remove the ball."

2) Redirect your dog to something else: "Give your dog something to do instead of the undesired behavior," Novick explains. "Replace jumping with asking your dog to sit or lay down then play a game with them or give them a toy to let out their energy."

3) Teach your dog new behavior patterns: "For example, practice with your dog and reward them for doing a new behavior (sit, down, bed) in the moments when they normally jump."

As with any new training regime, patience and consistency are key. "Training and rewarding your dog often while staying consistent with steps one and two when the old undesired behavior occurs will be key in them learning the new behavior pattern," says Novick.

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.