If your dog has been barking for attention you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of common causes and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog bark for attention? Possible reasons why your dog barks for attention are being hungry, needing to pee, wanting exercise, feeling like it is being left out, something causing it to be fearful, separation anxiety or rewarding the behavior.
There are actually many reasons why your dog might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are multiple things you can do about it.
Why your dog barks for attention
Below are a number of common reasons why dog bark for attention and what would make them more likely to be the main causes.
The reason why it does it might be that it is hungry. This would be more likely if it tend to bark when you would normally feed it, if it has started doing it since a change in its diet or if it tends to bark when it has not eaten for a long time.
In this case, it would help to make sure that it has been getting the right diet, that it has been eating the right amount and it would help to avoid rewarding it with your own food when it starts barking. It would also help to wait for it to stop barking before feeding it so that it learns that it gets food when it does not bark.
It wants to pee
Another possible cause is that it wants to pee. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when it has not been able to pee for a while and if it wants to go outside when it starts barking. In this case, the barking would not be such a bad thing since it will allow you to know to let it out to pee. However, it would help to avoid making it wait for a long time to be able to pee.
Another possible cause is that it is jealous. This would be more likely if it has started doing it since you got a new pet or if it barks when you are giving attention to another pet. In this case, it would help to avoid rewarding it with attention when it starts barking but to make sure to give it attention throughout the day by exercising it, playing with it and training it.
Encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it starts doing it. If you reward it for barking for attention by giving it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is not barking and to stop rewarding it when it starts barking.
It wants exercise
Another cause of the barking could be that it is trying to get you to give it exercise. This would be more likely if it tends to bark before you have given it exercise and if it tends to bark less after getting exercise. It would help to make sure that it has been getting the daily amount of exercise for its breed and age.
It doesn’t feel like it is getting enough attention
The cause could be that it feels like it is not getting enough attention. This would be more likely if it started doing it since you started giving it less attention or since giving more attention to another pet. It would help to give it attention throughout the day by exercising it, training it and playing with it.
It might be the case that it has been doing it because something has been causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if it barks for your attention more at certain times such as when there are fireworks outside or when there is lightning.
It could also be the case that it has been barking due to having separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it does it when it is in a different room, when you are leaving or if it does it from a different room during the night.
It might help to follow the tips given in this book on Amazon which is about how to deal with dog separation anxiety.
Illness or injury
It might be barking to let you know that it is ill or injured. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly, if it has been showing signs of being in pain or if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out why your dog has been barking for attention.
What else happened when your dog first started barking for attention
It would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as getting a new pet, giving it less attention suddenly, a change in its daily routine, getting less exercise, a change in its diet or if you started leaving it for longer periods.
What is different when your dog does not bark for attention
If there is a certain time that it tends to bark, it would also help to consider what is different when it does it.
For example, if it barks before being fed and it stops barking after it has been fed, it would be more likely to be the case that it does it because it wants you to feed it.
What to do about your dog barking for attention
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop barking for attention.
Avoid rewarding the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have been encouraging the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is not barking, to stop rewarding it when it starts barking and to wait for it to stop before rewarding it again. Eventually, it should learn that barking will not result in it getting things that it wants.
Give it attention throughout the day
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it does not feel the need to get it from you as much. Ways to give it attention would be to train it, exercise it and to play with it.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage your dog to behave the way you want it to by giving it rewards when it shows signs of behaving that way. To use it to get your dog to stop barking, you could reward it when it does not bark but it normally would and wait for it to stop barking before rewarding it.
Give it the right amount of exercise
It would also help to ensure that it is getting the right amount of daily exercise for its age and breed.
Deal with its separation anxiety
If your dog seems to be doing it due to some separation anxiety, it would help to try to take measures to reduce how anxious it becomes. It would help to feed, exercise and let it pee before leaving so that it is calmer and more likely to sleep when you’re away. It would also help to try to come back home periodically to let it out to pee if possible.
Ensure that it is getting the right diet
It would also help to make sure that it has been eating the right amount of calories and that it has been getting the right diet. You can look here for some tips on what it should and should not be eating.
Deal with any possible reasons why it might be fearful
If it seems like it might be barking due to being fearful, it would also help to try to reduce what might be causing it to be fearful. For example, if it does it when there are noises outside, it might be an option to get it to stay in a quieter room, to block out the noise by playing different noises from a speaker or to try desensitization training.
Take it to a vet
If it has started doing it suddenly and it has been showing signs of being ill or injured, the best option would be to take it to a vet. Doing so should rule out medical causes and allow you to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog.
Get help from a dog behaviorist or trainer
Another option would be to get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see why it has been doing it and what you can do to get it to stop.
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