9 Ways Dogs Attract Attention

The ways dogs get attention can easily be confused with other ways of communicating. Learn here to identify them.
9 Ways Dogs Attract Attention

Last update: 01 September, 2021

Living with another species always creates situations where the communication fails, especially at the beginning of the relationship. In these cases, when dogs want to get the attention of their guardians, they adopt some strategies that can be problematic. What are the 9 ways dogs attract attention? Read on to find out!

Although the need for contact with their owner doesn’t necessarily have to be pathological, it’s good to know what dog behavior is simply a sign of attention-seeking. Whether you respond to them or not is part of your dog’s basic training. Let’s have a look at them!

9 ways dogs attract attention

Dogs also have a need for attention and, like any social animal, they communicate it in many ways. The reinforcement you give your pet plays a key role in understanding which ways of attracting attention are correct and which aren’t. You should be careful to get to know these types of behavior and reward the ones that are most helpful.

1. Barking, one of the ways dogs attract attention

Dogs have many vocalizations: moans, growls, howls, squeals and barks in different tones are the tools they use to express their mood, urgency or even to attract attention. The barks to attract attention are usually quite “dry”, and they do it when they feel you aren’t giving them enough affection.

The best way to prevent it from becoming obsessive behavior is to ignore the animal or tell it not to do it. The best technique will depend on the dog’s temperament and how you relate to each other, but you must ensure that it doesn’t become chronic.

The barking of a dog at the camera.

2. Bringing you objects

When a dog wants to play, they often choose to bring an object to the owner to ask for attention and to interact with them. This isn’t pathological behavior in itself, but it can be unpleasant if the dog decides to bring live (or dead) prey to show its owner!

It isn’t good to scold the dog for the latter. For these animals, bringing you food is a show of respect and affection (they could have eaten it and they haven’t). So, if you want them to stop doing it, it’s best not to react. They’re animals with a hunting instinct, and if you want to manage this behavior, it must be done through learning, not punishment.

3. Biting your hand to get attention

Especially in the puppy stage, biting is a way that the dog uses to learn how strong its jaw is and different ways of relating to its environment. They may also nibble on other things, such as furniture or toys.

For all these reasons, your dog may bite your hand without hurting you. You can teach them not to do it if you don’t like it, but you could also simply set limits so that they’re careful when they do it.

4. Chasing their tail

This way of attracting attention can go both ways. In puppies, it’s normal, as it’s just one more way to discover their body. However, they should stop doing it when they mature. High-energy dogs can also chase their tails in the middle of playing.

We can unknowingly reinforce this behavior, as it’s fun to watch. However, it’s better not to pay attention to the animal, as it can become compulsive behavior. You should also rule out some physical ailments (such as external parasites) if they do this repeatedly.

5. Scratching or pawing you

This way of attracting attention is very easy to understand, as it’s similar to what humans do when we pat each other on the shoulder. It is a behavior pattern that dogs use to communicate with each other from a very young age, and it’s totally natural. In fact, when training dogs, experts like to teach them to give their paw when asked.

6. Running frantically

The act of frantically running is common in very energetic dogs and puppies when they want to draw attention and get you to play with them. Dogs often invite each other to play by running off with the aim of the other dog chasing them. It’s also a way to burn excess energy.

This behavior isn’t necessarily problematic, but it is a good idea to teach dogs to stop doing it when you give the command. In this way, you can avoid potential accidents such as running onto the road or colliding with something dangerous.

7. Giving licks

Dog licks have many functions: attracting attention, checking where you’ve been, grooming you, showing you affection, and more. Licking you is an effusive way of attracting attention, usually for playing games or being pampered.

If you find it unpleasant or you don’t want your pet to do it to just anyone, you can teach them not to lick you or just not to reinforce the behavior. The dog will end up looking for another way to ask you to attend to them.

8. Staring at you is one of the most common ways dogs attract attention

Quite often, dogs don’t bark, bite, or run… they just look at you. If you ignore them, they follow you with their eyes. They may even analyze you as you do things and continue to watch your every step. This is a low-key and respectful way to wait for you to serve them, so it’s hard for it to become compulsive.

9. Crying

When dogs moan or cry they arouse great empathy in humans, and so it’s easy to reinforce this attention-seeking behavior. The best thing to do is not to pay much attention to the animal (unless you think it’s due to something urgent), because if it becomes chronic it would be very difficult to eliminate.

One of the ways dogs get attention is to cry.

The fact that dogs do things to get attention isn’t inherently bad. However, an effort must be made to establish healthy communication with them and meet there needs, without them developing compulsive behavior. Eventually, just one glance will be enough to understand your dog, so be patient.

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  • Rehn, T., Beetz, A., & Keeling, L. J. (2017). Links between an owner’s adult attachment style and the support-seeking behavior of their dog. Frontiers in psychology8, 2059.
  • Tiira, K., Hakosalo, O., Kareinen, L., Thomas, A., Hielm-Björkman, A., Escriou, C., … & Lohi, H. (2012). Environmental effects on compulsive tail chasing in dogs. PloS one7(7), e41684.