If you love your dog (or dogs) you’re not alone. Millions of people around the United States and the world have a love for their dog that some say goes beyond reason. And, let’s be honest, some dog owners seem to love their pooch more than they love other people (not that we’re judging, just observing).
Whatever the amount of love you have for your particular pup, from liking them a lot to putting them on a pedestal at the center of your world, there’s one thing that most of us don’t love all that much; a dog that just won’t leave you alone no matter what you do or say. They beg, bark, whine and pull on your sleeve relentlessly, day and night, an incessant cry for attention that is annoying at best and downright maddening at worst.
In this article, Why Won’t My Dog Leave Me Alone, we’ll take a look at this not-so-unique dog behavior and the many reasons that it might be happening. We’ll also look at some steps that you can take to curb it and the breeds of dogs that need the most attention. When we’re done you’ll have a lot more insight as to why your dog is such an attention hound (pun intended!). Enjoy.
Do All Dogs Show Attention-Seeking Behavior?
Yes, generally all dogs show some form of attention seeking behavior and here’s why.
If you’re like the average dog owner you play with your dog regularly, take them for walks, snuggle with them and talk to them too. That’s because dogs, maybe more than any other pet (no offense, cat people), are more like our friends than our pets. We confide in them, ‘hang out’ with them and, for many seniors or single folks, their dog is the only other creature they interact with on most days.
But the truth is, beloved pet or best friend, if your dog is constantly pestering you for attention every moment of the day, never letting you do anything by yourself or giving you much needed ‘down-time’ at the end of a long day, it can get on your last nerve.
Yes, all dogs show attention-seeking behavior from time to time. The simple fact is that dogs are social animals just like humans and don’t just want but need attention. Indeed, they crave attention as much as any human and, the younger they are, the more attention they seek.
So yes, all dogs do show attention-seeking behavior, at least occasionally. That’s to be expected and, frankly, it’s one of the traits that we love about them most. (Who among us doesn’t love the 100% pure affection of our dog?) It’s only when they act like a 5-year-old hopped up on sugar that your dog’s behavior gets really annoying.
Why Does my Dog Always Seek my Attention and Not Leave Me Alone?
As we’ve already talked about, attention-seeking behavior is normal in all dogs as they are social animals. That being said, some dogs and dog breeds can take this to the extreme, pestering and annoying their owners to no end and creating a stressful situation in their home.
The truth is, some dogs and dog breeds are more ‘clingy’ than others (more on this below). Some are insecure or have anxiety issues. Some pooches just can’t seem to relax no matter what you do or say and then, of course, there are puppies. Puppies seek even more attention than adult dogs simply because they’re young, full of energy and, like a human child, don’t know when to stop.
Of course, if you never play with your dog, don’t take them for regular walks or ignore them most of the time (sadly, this does happen) they’re going to constantly beg you to give them attention. This, no offense, would be totally on you. If you don’t have the time or energy to give your dog the attention it deserves then you might want to reconsider being a dog owner. Just like a human, your dog needs love, affection and attention. It’s one of the few must-have prerequisites for being a dog owner.
If you have a puppy, well, you’re just going to have to deal with their annoying neediness until they get older. In most cases, however, if your furry buddy is making you crazy with its’ need for attention and you’ve done everything you can to give it to them, it’s likely because they have an underlying problem that needs to be corrected. (More on this below.)
What Forms of Attention Seeking Behavior Do Dogs Show?
Your canine companion has many methods that they will use to get your attention, some more annoying and pestering than others. Those include;
- Poking you with their snout or paws
- Nipping at you lightly (or not so lightly)
- Clinging to your side endlessly
- Barking like there’s no tomorrow
- Destructive chewing on stuff
- Licking you all over
- Nuzzling you constantly
- Growling or ‘talking’ to you non-stop
- Picking things up and running off with them
- Relentlessly pacing across the floor
Keep in mind that all of the behaviors are normal, to a point. It’s when your dog just won’t stop that it becomes a problem and needs to be corrected.
Which Breed of Dogs are the Neediest and Most Attention Seeking?
There are a few breeds of dogs that, for one reason or another, need, crave or beg for more attention. Most of these breeds are more intelligent and intuitive, which isn’t particularly a bad thing unless they’re driving you up the wall. The dogs that demand the most attention, in alphabetical order, include;
- Alaskan Malamute
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- Australian Shepherd
- Border Collie
- Brussels Griffon
- Cocker Spaniel
- English Bulldog
- German Short-haired Pointer
- Irish Setter
- Jack Russel Terrier
- Labrador Retriever
- Siberian Husky
- Yorkshire Terrier
How to Train the Attention Seeking Behavior Out of Your Dog?
There are, thank goodness, several things you can do to keep your puppy pal from annoying you and pestering you all the time. Some are easier than others and a couple might require that you see a veterinarian. Some require training while others don’t.
1- Ignore their attention-seeking behavior
This one is difficult but, in time, does work. See, when your dog jumps on you, nips at you or licks you constantly to get attention, most people push them away, yell at them to stop and even squirt them with a water pistol. All of these actions do one thing; give your dog the attention they were seeking. Sure, it’s ‘negative’ attention, at least in your mind, but to your pooch, it’s attention nonetheless.
Instead, ignore them. Like, completely. Turn your back to them and wait for the attention-seeking action to stop. Don’t make eye contact and don’t say a word. When the behavior stops (and only then) give your pooch a treat and, in a low voice, tell them that they’re a good dog. Do this consistently and, in time, they will understand that waiting patiently is the best way to get your attention.
2- Make sure they get enough exercise
If you have an energetic child you know how well a full day of exercise works in getting them to sleep. The fact is, a tired dog won’t be pestering you for attention because they’ll be too tired to do it. Of course, that means you have to give them enough exercise that they do get tired but, after you do, you’ll get the break you need (and deserve) away from your fur baby’s annoying behavior.
3- Give them more (or better) toys to play with
Using the child analogy again, if your kid is busy playing with their favorite toy they won’t be busy trying to get your attention. The same thing goes for dogs and maybe even more so. Give a dog a great bone and they’ll be content to play and chew on it for hours. Below are a few of the best toys for an aggressively attention-seeking pupper.
- Bully Max Long Lasting Dog Chew Toy
- Willie Bones
- Pet Qwerks Dinosaur BarkBone
- Pet Parents Gnawtlers
- VANFINE Dog Squeaky
4- See Your Veterinarian if your Dog has Major Anxiety Issues
Unfortunately, some dogs have anxiety and stress issues that make them beg for attention constantly and there’s no toy or treat that will help. In these (thankfully rare) instances you might need to visit your local vet and get them checked. It might be that they need some doggie therapy or medicinal help.
You could also try a few products sold over-the-counter if you like. We have some recommendations below for all-natural products that can calm an anxious dog.
- Zesty Paws Calming Bites
- Pet Parents USA Dog Calming Treats
- Revive Naturals Organic Raw Hemp Oil
- VetriScience Laboratories- Composure
5- Allow them to have ‘play-time’ with another dog
We have a neighbor who does this all the time with her dog. She brings her over to the neighbor’s yard and lets her play with their dog (and vice-versa). Dogs, as we’ve talked about, are social animals and love being around other dogs. It’s a great way to get them out of your hair for a while, tire them out and give them the attention they crave, all at the same time!
Dogs, like humans, need and crave attention, plus love and tenderness too. If your dog is pestering you every minute for attention the advice and info we’ve given should help. If it doesn’t, it’s ok, all dogs have different personalities