How to Stop a Dog from Barking for Attention?

Woman on lime green laptop laying on floor while chihuahua barks at her

Does your dog bark at you when you hug someone or watching your favorite TV show? Maybe you get a lot of dog barking when walking? If yes, your pet is probably trying to get your attention.

Attention-seeking is a natural ingredient of canine nature as young puppies rely completely on their mothers. As they grow old, this habit can become a lot stronger if you don’t train your dog. Although it is comparatively easier to train your dog not to bark for attention, it does require some resilience.

The basic crux of this training is to show your pet that attention barking is not going to help him/her with his/her demands. Additionally, you can teach some obedience commands to make them stop barking on your instructions. This will be a massive plus in the long run as you won’t have to worry about other social problems.

Why Dogs Bark for Attention?

The basic reason for this behavioral problem is that dogs are naturally affectionate animals. Due to this reason, it’s easier for pet owners (especially new ones) to reward their unwanted actions. For instance, you may reward them when they drop an uninvited toy in your lap. This will reinforce the attention-seeking behavior in your pet. Some other reasons for attention barking are as follows:

Separation Anxiety

scruffy dog staring out of window

The dog parents who work full-time are much more likely to face this issue. Leaving your dog alone for long spells on a regular basis can develop separation-related issues in them. If this is the case, you need to get immediate professional assistance for your canine companion.

Boredom

boston terrier puppy laying on shiny white floor

Lack of sufficient mental and physical exercise is necessary to keep your dog happy and satisfied. Otherwise, he/she will become bored and it will result in barking for attention. It’s the dog’s way of communicating that you are being unfair to him/her.

Fear

Corgi hiding under piece of furniture with head sticking out

This is another important factor that can cause a lot of discomfort to your pet. If your dog is afraid of something, it will feel safer in the company of the parent and will try to attract your attention by barking.

Stop Dog Barking for Attention

The Cold Shoulder Method

This training technique might seem a little cruel and rude but it is necessary to teach your dog. You will need to be absolutely stern (don’t give in quickly) about your practices for the desired results. Failing to do so can delay the results substantially.

Step 1:

As soon as the dog starts barking for attention, turn your back towards him/her. It is important that you ignore your pet completely as even the slightest glance will fulfill their goal.

Step 2:

Keep ignoring the dog until it stops barking. If you give in after a specific time, the dog will quickly learn that he/she needs to bark for that long to get your attention. Therefore, be resilient and let them stop before making your next move.

Step 3:

When your pet has stopped barking, pay some attention to them and reward them with a treat. Repeating this a few times will teach them that the most effective way to attract your attention is to stay quiet.

Step 4:

Slowly increase the time that the dog has to stay quiet to get your attention. For example, if you are waiting a couple of seconds, to begin with, increase it to 5-10 seconds in a week’s time and so on.

Step 5:

Be consistent in your practices and your canine friend will soon leave this bad habit. On the other hand, any kind of inconsistency and leniency will prolong the training duration.

Recommended Dog Training Courses to Stop a Dog from Barking for Attention

There are two online video based training courses that I recommend.

  1. Doggy Dan – The Online Dog Trainer
  2. Brain Training for Dogs

These two courses serve two very different purposes. The Doggy Dan course is the best behavioral training course that I’ve ever used. It tackles problem behaviors like barking in ways that are innovative and kind and most of all WORK.

The Brain Training for Dogs course is a course that will help give curious and bored dogs something to do so that they don’t get destructive. Bored dogs often behave badly. The games in this course are fun to play with your dog and they go from easy to very advanced. If you think your dog is barking out of boredom this video course is a good choice.

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.