No matter how much you love your dog, there is often nothing more annoying and frustrating than when your dog constantly barks for attention. Your dog may have learned that they get your attention by demand barking at you.
As a puppy, you may have immediately stroked and cuddled them as soon as they barked or whined. However, now this demand barking has developed into a bad and uncontrollable habit.
Luckily, there are ways to break your dog’s habit of barking for attention. It is important to be patient and calm when training your dog.
Avoid shouting “quiet” or “stop” to your dog, as this is largely counter-productive as this type of attention will likely only cause them to bark more.
1. Ignore demand barking
If you want to get your dog to stop demand barking when they want your attention, the first thing that you need to learn to do is to avoid this behavior.
When your dog barks, any type of attention from you whether it be stroking them in an attempt to calm them down or shouting at them to stop, will likely only reinforce the barking.
This is likely the hardest part of the process, but it is the most effective way to teach your dog to stop barking when they want to get your attention.
Ignoring your dog’s bad behavior is the best way to break this habit. Remember your dog is barking because they want your attention.
Even if you try to correct them you are still giving them the attention that they are asking for.
The best way to stop them from barking is to completely ignore it. Once your dog is silent, even for a few seconds, reward them with a treat or a toy and a positive word of reinforcement.
This will teach them that they get attention when they are quiet rather than when they’re barking.
It is important to realize that their behavior may get worse before it improves.
Ignoring them may cause them to bark louder and longer for a while before they cease. So, it is important to be patient, even if ignoring this behavior does not seem to be working initially.
If you live in a building and are worried about neighbors, explain the situation to them before you start training.
2. Teach them to sit instead of demand barking
If you want to teach your dog to stop demand barking for attention, teach them to do something else instead when they are looking for your attention.
If your dog wants your attention, teach them that they should sit or lie down. This will give them something else to do when they want your attention rather than barking.
When your dog is barking, ask them calmly to sit.
If they stop barking and sit down, praise them and give them a treat. Continue the process several times every day for a few days until they get used to it.
3. How to prevent demand barking
One of the easiest ways to avoid demand barking is to prevent it from the beginning.
If you have a puppy that has not yet learned to demand bark, make sure to prevent this behavior from developing. Avoid having to retrain your dog by teaching them the right behavior from the start.
Puppies may demand bark when you are playing with them. If you have the ball and they want you to throw it, they may bark at you.
Rather than just thinking that this behavior is cute, try to stop it now so that it doesn’t develop into something worse in the future.
Avoid praising your dog for barking at anything.
Don’t give in to your dog if they bark when they want you to play with them or give them attention. Instead, ignore this behavior and wait until they have calmed down.
Continue this a few times until your puppy has learned not to bark when they want something.
Whenever your dog barks at you while you are playing with them, stop playing and avoid giving them the ball or attention.
If they bark at another dog, try to remove them from the situation for a few seconds, before reintroducing them.
As soon as your dog stops barking they can resume playing together.
This will teach your puppy that they will get attention and play if they are quiet rather than when they bark at you.
The easiest way to avoid demand barking is to teach your puppy from the beginning that they will get attention and play when they are quiet rather than when they bark.
However, if your dog has already developed this habit, it is important to break it as early as possible by ignoring their demand barks and instead only reward silence.