Attention is a form of affection for dogs, and when they receive a human’s attention, it pleases and satisfies a need for them. It is important to be aware of the dog’s state of mind when you are giving the attention and affection they seek.
If a dog is barking and you start to pet him, the dog will receive a message that if he barks he will receive petting and affection.
Often times when a small dog starts to bark at strangers, the owner will pick up the small dog in order to calm him down. The dog loves to be picked up and learns that if he barks and guards the owner, he will get the affection he desires. The owner is nurturing this behavior and the dog continues to bark, guard, and is labeled “not good with strangers.”
Rather than picking the small dog up when he barks at strangers, he must be reminded that the owner has the situation handled. Keep the dog on a short but loose leash by your side, rather than in front of you. The dog should only be picked up when he is calm, that way he learns that he will receive your attention and affection when he is calm.
Another example is when a dog is scared or frightened. If you pet and sweet talk the dog when he is scared, the dog is learning that he will receive your comfort and affection when he is sacred, which potentially enables that frightened response and behavior. A different response would be to stay calm and go about your business as usual so you are not feeding the dog’s fears with your own worry and extra attention.
When a dog is jumping all over you, rather than talking to the dog or petting the dog, ignore the dog by turning your back to him. As soon as he is calm, then you can turn around and give him your attention through talk and touch.
The best time to give a dog attention and affection is when he is sitting quietly. This way he learns that he will be rewarded when he is calm.
Timing is everything when you are giving attention and affection to a dog. Consider your dog’s behavior and their state of mind as you hand them a treat or start to pet them. Rewarding them when they are excited will reinforce the excitement, and rewarding them when they are in a quiet, peaceful state of mind will reinforce more quiet, peaceful behavior.
The same goes for aggressive behavior, pulling, and whimpering – be considerate of what you are rewarding with your attention. When the dog stops whining, pulling, or lunging, that is when you give them affection. It is important to address adverse behavior and correct it as necessary, but do so with an awareness of the timing of your attention and what kind of attention you are giving your dog.
Having an awareness of your dog’s state of mind when you are giving them the attention and affection they seek will lead to you helping the dog experience balance and harmony!
Michael Burke is an Animal Communicator, Behavior Consultant, and Intuitive Life Coach. His mission is to help people better understand and communicate with their animals and overcome behavioral challenges. He also coaches people on how to improve their own energy, find balance, clear blocks and achieve their goals.
Michael communicates with animals intuitively in order to answer questions, find solutions and provide people and animals with peace, harmony, confidence and clarity. During an animal communication session with Michael, his clients receive guidance and support regarding behavior issues, health challenges, emotional obstacles and end of life crossroads. His unique approach combines his background as an intuitive with his experience in dog psychology, behavior and training, and energy healing.
Michael is a graduate of the Animal Behavior College and also works as a Dog Trainer at Cesar Millan’s Dog Psychology Center in Santa Clarita, CA, helping dogs with socialization, obedience, mastering the walk, and agility. Michael’s personal pack includes 3 dogs – a Pit Bull Mix, an Australian Shepherd/ Blue Heeler Mix, an Australian Shepherd puppy, and two cats.