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Pay attention to your dog


Does your dog steal things and then run through the house. Running right past you with that "ha ha look what I've got, catch me if you can" look in his eyes?

You think he's being defiant, purposely being a bad dog. Not true. He has learned how to get your attention.

All your dog wants from you is attention. He discovered playing with his own toys doesn't get him your attention, but pick up something of yours and the game is on!

Dogs love to be chased and quickly learn to initiate a game of chase by grabbing socks from the laundry, a tissue out of the trash or shoes from the closet.

They don't care that you're chasing them screaming "bad puppy!" They have your complete attention and they love it! Playing with their toys never gets such a reaction from you, but it should.

Paying attention to your dog when he's doing something wrong will likely cause him to continue doing it. Instead try joining him when he's playing with his own toys.

Pick one of his toys and designate it as the chase toy. When he has that toy chase him playfully. Soon he will be bringing you his toy with that, "catch me if you can" look.

Remember if playing with his toys gets your attention, he will be more likely to play with his toys in the future and leave your stuff alone.

The dog is looking out the window, but no one pays attention to him until he starts barking. You walk over and yell "quiet!" He's just got your attention!

When walking your dog, he begins barking at the dog down the street. You pat him on the head and tell him "shush." He will learn that barking gets attention.

As far as your dog is concerned, any attention is good. Talking to him, petting him even yelling at them can be rewarding for most dogs.

The worst thing that can happen to your dog is to be ignored. So ignore unwanted behaviors that are not harmful or destructive and give your dog attention when he is doing the things that you like.

Reward your dog for being quiet. Don't wait until he starts barking, when you see him quietly looking out the window. Reward him! Give him attention, play with him, and treat him!

If the dog down the street is out and your dog is not barking at him, pet him, talk to him, give him a reason to be quiet. Attention!

Tip of the week: Dogs do things that get your attention so pay attention to the good things! Be consistent and watch the change take place.

Bark questions to: Canine Companion, 11652 North - 825 West, Huntington, IN 46750 or email

Canine Companion conducts dog training classes in Fort Wayne, Huntington and surrounding communities and behavior consulting nationwide. Along with their combined 30 years experience and endorsement by national organizations, the trainers are all graduates of Purdue University's DOGS! Program and have earned the title of Certified Pet Dog Trainer through the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.