Dogs are very social creatures. Because of this, they are highly motivated to seek attention. This is especially true of high-intelligence and high-energy breeds. Still, all dogs will require interaction with their people throughout the day. Some dogs will seek attention by any means possible, utilizing less-than-desirable behavior to pull your focus toward them. Understanding what attention-seeking behavior looks like can help you work with your dog to correct this behavior.

If you are worried about your pup’s behavior, here are some ways to deal with attention-seeking.

Attention-seeking behavior will look a little different from dog to dog, but you may notice some of the following behaviors:


Jumping is one of the top complaints about dog behaviors across the board. Jumping can be annoying, but it can also be dangerous for owners with younger children or elderly friends. Dogs express excitement by jumping. By invading your space, they hope to get a reaction. If you find your dog randomly jumping on you, especially if you are doing a quiet or everyday task, it likely has an attention-seeking motivation.

Nipping or Pawing at Clothes

A dog may try to pull you away from a “distraction” by nipping or pawing at your clothing or hands. Again, nipping is a behavior that is not just annoying but can also be unsafe. A nip can very quickly become a bite if your dog is not gentle enough to avoid catching your skin. Similarly, bigger dogs can unintentionally cause scratches while pawing at you for attention.


Barking, whining, or howling are other disruptive ways your dog may try to get your attention. Vocalizing is a loud, attention-grabbing way to get a big reaction from you. Some dogs will even begin vocalizing before your attention has shifted elsewhere to ensure your focus remains on them.

Destruction and Chewing

Chewing on furniture, scratching at doors, or damaging your personal property can all be bids for attention. While this attention will likely be negative, sometimes that is better than nothing for a bored pup.

Other Problems

It is crucial to note that some of these behaviors can point to deeper problems. What you think is attention-seeking behavior could result from anxiety, illness, discomfort, or stress. If you observe a drastic change in your dog’s behavior, another underlying cause may exist. In these cases, you will need to take a different approach.

How ADU Can Help

If your dog is misbehaving for attention, All Dogs Unleashed can help. Some minor adjustments in routine and environment can go a long way to correcting these behaviors. Plan to spend quality time with your dog daily. These social creatures need regular attention. Add some things to your pet’s environment or routine to increase their daily stimulation. Rotate toys, add new toys, or introduce walks to your dog’s schedule. These things can stimulate your dog and keep them from becoming bored. Finally, when your dog does display attention-seeking behavior, the best way to discourage the behavior is to ignore the bid for attention. This will reinforce that the undesirable behavior will not help them steal away your focus.

If you are struggling with attention-seeking behavior, All Dogs Unleashed can work with you and your dog to encourage appropriate bids for attention.