Although we love our pets dearly, constant attention seeking behaviour can soon become annoying and embarrassing, especially if it looks like you can't control your dog! Understand the signs and causes and learn how to stop your Cocker Spaniel demanding your attention!
When a puppy seeks your attention it's often cute and endearing, but when your puppy grows up and wants you all to himself, it can become a very different matter altogether.
And just in case you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the following:
Do any of these sound familiar to you? I'm betting that at least some of them do.
Your Cocker Spaniel is using attention seeking behaviour to get what he wants from you.
If your Cocker Spaniel is often demanding your attention, and it's becoming a problem for you, there may be a couple of reasons for this:
Physical exercise and mental stimulation will have a calming, relaxing effect
on your pet, so the best thing you can do to help stop your dog becoming bored is to burn off his excess energy and tire him out.
Ensure your dog has a regular routine of exercise, play, and training (regardless of whether or not he's displaying attention seeking behaviours) along the lines of the following:
This in itself may be enough to curb any attention seeking behaviours and you could see an improvement within a week or so!
However, if your Cocker's manners don't improve as much as you'd like.......read on for more help and advice!
"The recommended response is to ignore him altogether:
don't speak to him, don't look at him and don't touch him
- in your dog's eyes, these actions are all forms of reward"
As we've seen, our pets will try to attract our attention in many different (and sometimes imaginative) ways and our response will usually vary between:
All of which are the wrong thing to do - and I bet we've all done the same at some point!
What we often don't realize is that by using our pet's name, or speaking to him (for example, asking him to get down, or to be quiet) or simply touching him (moving him out of the way) are all rewards in your dog's eyes, so in instances like these, we're rewarding him for this behaviour - we’re giving him attention!
Our dogs soon learn that they can get what they want by behaving in a certain way.
Once that happens, these (unwanted) behaviours become habitual...because your dog has learned that it works!...and before you know it, your pet has behavioural problems which you can no longer manage.
there are many Cocker Spaniels currently sitting in rescue centers because of
this lack of understanding.
When our dogs display attention seeking behaviours we know
that giving them what they want, when they want, is inadvisable, however it's okay to respond to certain 'demands' such as wanting a
cuddle or a treat....but only on the odd occasion.
But there are other attention seeking behaviours that we simply don't want and shouldn't tolerate at all, such as jumping up, constant barking or whining.
If we give a reaction to our dogs behaviour, we're not only confirming that their antics worked, but we may also be (inadvertently) helping to increase their dominance by following and not leading!
In these circumstances, our dog is controlling us; he's calling the shots, and that's not good. We need to maintain our status as pack leader - the human is the alpha dog - always.
My advice is to always ignore your dog's attention seeking behaviour and reward him only when he's well behaved, or when he's quiet.
It's Ironic that we tend to ignore our dogs when they're quiet, and (unwittingly) reward them (with touch and the sound of our voice) when they're not - the exact opposite of what we should be doing!
So, the next time you see your Cocker behaving well, or resting quietly, why not go over to him and stroke him gently and praise him?
Make a quiet fuss over him and if he rolls over onto his back, rub his belly and tell him he's a 'Good quiet boy'.
Rewarding your dog when he's quiet will help teach him that only good behaviour will get him what he wants.
objective is to give your Cocker Spaniel lots of attention on your terms;
in fact, the same as he gets now, but only when he's good.
The worst punishment you can give an attention seeking dog is to deprive him of your attention and affection, so the next time he's making demands the best thing you can do is ignore him, as follows:
If moving him to another room fails, and he continues barking, you may want to consider using a stronger barking deterrent,
such as a water pistol or an air spray (this is compressed air used to
clean computer keyboards and cameras). Please don't use it anywhere near
Either of these may be used each time he uses barking to get your attention. They will startle him into silence, interrupting his behaviour and you should be able to manage him.
If you'd like more information on how to stop your dog barking, you'll find lots of help and advice here.
your Cocker Spaniel responds in the way that you want him to, you can
then give him what he was asking for (food, affection, etc.) because you
will be rewarding him for following your commands; you're rewarding his
good behaviour NOT attention seeking behaviour!
There's no such thing as a free lunch so make your dog work for anything that you give him!
The bottom line is, if your dog wants constant attention - give it to him - but do so on your terms - not his!
If, after following the advice given here, you still have a problem with your dog's behaviour, we recommend you consult your vet for advice.
He may be able to offer assistance, or he may refer you to a behavioural therapist.
your dog continues to bark excessively, and you think it may be
something other than attention seeking behaviour, you might find some
useful information here.