If your dog begs you to pet it, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you four common reasons why they do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
It is actually possible that there is a combination of causes at play. However, there are some things you can consider when figuring out the main causes and there are many things you can do about them.
Reasons why your dog begs to be pet
Below are four common causes and what would make each of them more likely to be the main cause.
The cause might be that it is just being affectionate. This would be more likely if it has not been doing it excessively and it is affectionate in other ways such as by sleeping touching you. It would also be more likely that it is being affectionate if it does not show signs of being fearful or anxious and it has more relaxed body language such as by having its tongue out, a relaxed face or wagging its tail.
It enjoys it
Another likely reason why it does it is that it likes it when you pet it so it wants you to do it more. This would be more likely if it gets very excited when you are petting it and when it is getting you to pet it.
Rewarding the behavior
The cause might also be that you have encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention, when it begs to be pet, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
The cause could also be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if your dog begs to be pet before you leave home and if it shows signs of being anxious, such as pacing or crying, when you are leaving.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What is different when it begs to be pet
If your dog tends to do it more at a certain time, it would help to consider what is different when it does it. For example, if it tends to do it more when you are leaving home, it could be a sign that it has some separation anxiety.
What else happened when it first started doing it
If your dog did not always beg to be pet, it would also help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as learning that the behavior gets rewarded or something causing it to become anxious.
The body language it shows
It would also help to consider the body language it shows when it wants to be pet. If it shows positive body language signs such as having its tongue out, wagging its tail and being relaxed, it would be more likely that it is doing it more due to excitement or affection.
Whereas, if it shows signs of anxiety, such as pacing or crying, it would be more likely that it is doing it due to something causing it to be anxious such as having separation anxiety.
How often it does it
If your dog has to be pet constantly, it would make it more likely to be due to something causing it to be very anxious especially if it shows other signs of being anxious. In this case, it would help to get professional help. Whereas, if it does not do it constantly, it would be more likely to be due to nature, learning that the behavior is rewarded and being affectionate.
What to do about it
Below are some things you can do about your dog begging to be pet.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it could be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to and to avoid giving it rewards when it does not.
Limit reasons why it might be anxious
It could be the case that it has been doing it due to being anxious. It would help to limit possible reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as letting it pee, get fed and walked before leaving it for a long time.
Give it attention throughout the day
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it is less likely to do things to get you to give it attention. Ways to give it attention would be to play with it, pet it, train it and exercise it.
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