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Neediness in Dogs

Nobody said parenting was easy and the same goes for parenting your dog. Out of all the bad behaviours, neediness is probably the most annoying to pet owners, particularly when they have guests over. Owners often excuse needy behaviour in their dogs because deep down they know they have been the cause of the behaviour themselves. Not unlike a spoiled child, a dog that has had everything handed to them is going to expect that same thing when your guests come over, wanting all the attention and not realizing that they are there to see you and not them! It’s a harsh awakening for a dog and one they often respond to with ‘needy’ behaviour ~ whining, barking, pawing, nosing, nudging ~ a multitude of rude behaviours designed to get your attention and not leave you alone.

Needy behaviour goes beyond their basic needs into pushy, demanding behaviour.

Generally speaking, dogs have their needs and this is normal, but needy behaviour goes beyond their basic needs into pushy, demanding behaviour. You can bet that if a puppy in the wild becomes too demanding, mother lets him know. They are, after all, in a fight for survival where only the strong survive. A whiny, demanding pup may very well be the one left behind when the predators show up! 

We humans tend to want to coddle our dogs, talk to them, and look at them all the time. While this may fill our own emotional needs, our dogs feel as if they’re the centre of the universe and once you’ve shown your dog that you consider them to be the centre of the universe, then that is how they will act! Am I saying that you should not love your dog and ignore it?  Of course not! But if your dog is exhibiting the signs of neediness, then the pendulum needs to swing the other way. Let’s try loving your dog for being good and NOT just for being cute! Avoid picking your dog up and carrying it around a lot or allowing them on furniture like the couch or bed. This just elevates them and their status in your ‘pack’ and helps fuel their needy behaviour. Introduce an exercise and training routine and reward your dog’s success with lots of love and positive attention. Your dog will appreciate it, the needy behaviour will cease, your dog will be more calm and relaxed, and your relationship will greatly improve.