If your dog wants to be pet constantly, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you four common reasons why dogs do it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my dog want to be pet constantly? Possible reasons why your dog begs to be pet constantly are enjoying it, affection, separation anxiety, or rewarding the behavior.
It is actually possible that a combination of causes are 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 wants to be pet constantly
Below are a number of possible causes and what would make each of them more likely to be the main reason.
It enjoys it
One 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.
The cause could just 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.
Encouraging the behavior
The cause might also be that it has learned that it gets rewards when it behaves that way so it does it more. If you give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats, when it tries to get extra attention from you, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Another possible cause is that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if your dog gets you to pet it 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 cause of your dog doing it.
What else happened when it first started behaving that way
If your dog has not always wanted to be pet constantly, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be due to learning that the behavior is rewarded or separation anxiety.
What is different when your dog wants 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.
The body language it shows
It would also help to consider the body language it shows, when it gets you to pet it. If it shows positive body language signs such as having its tongue out, wagging its tail or being relaxed, it would be more likely that it is being affectionate. 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.
How often it does it
It would also help to consider how often your dog wants to be pet. If it is trying to get you to pet it constantly, it would be more likely to be due to something more serious causing it to be anxious or fearful and it would likely help to get professional help. Whereas, if it does it once or twice daily, it would be more likely to be that it is being affectionate.
What to do about your dog wanting to be pet constantly
Below are a number of options you have when dealing with the behavior.
Avoid encouraging it
As mentioned above, your dog might have learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want it to and to wait for it to start behaving before giving it rewards when it misbehaves.
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.
Redirect its focus
Another option would be to redirect its focus onto something else whenever it seems like to start wanting to be pet. Other things to redirect its focus onto could include toys or bones. By doing so, you should be able to get it out of the habit of getting you to pet it all the time.