My Dog Likes Being the Center of Attention

Who Could Resist this Face?

I admit it, I have the class clown, the flirt, and the diva all living at my house and she is the same dog!

She loves being the center of attention and HATES sharing it with anyone or anything for that matter!

I recently got a new tattoo.  For years I was a professional artist doing dog portraits and traveling the country selling my artwork, so it seems natural to enjoy adorning my body with some good art.  I know it used to be more of a faux pas but in recent time it is seemingly more acceptable (or at least so I hope!).

My dog hates my new tattoo.

She used to be the center of attention when I went out, but due to the bold color and quality of my new arm tattoo she sometimes gets overshadowed by people seeking a conversation over it.

The funny thing is I am very shy.  I shy away from attention, and didn’t realize until it was too late that this adornment would bring such responsiveness.

My “Fury” (named after a motorcycle) hates sharing the attention!  When people approach she is SURE it is because they want to schnuzzle her, kiss her, hug her, pet her, or at least talk to her.

It is also kind of ironic because people will lightly grab my arm.  We are both adjusting to that, as it is not good manners to reach out and grab someone!  Not that she shows any negative behavior other than trying to show them they should be touching HER!

WHY is this important to You?

I LOVE having a Sociable Dog!

Because recently everyone has been so sure they want a protective dog, and I am here to tell you that having a social butterfly is a much better way to go!

People suffering with dogs that don’t like people would trade their dog’s behavior for that of a solicitous attention getter any day of the week!

It is much better to have a dog that is safe with people!


If you are lucky enough to have one of these flirtatious canines, it is important to teach them when and HOW to socialize appropriately!

If it was up to my dog she would leap on people, knock them to the ground, and pounce on their heads as they squealed.  She doesn’t realize on her own that this is considered BAD or even aggressive dog behavior; she thinks she is being as friendly as possible if SHE can pet people on her own.

Dogs don’t understand the basics of human behavior.  In fact they find us rather boring and uptight.

The more screaming and flailing a person does the more exciting they become to our canine companions!  And, sometimes this gets them into trouble especially when it comes to the elderly and small children.

A well-meaning overly social dog can hurt an elderly person or a child very quickly!

If you need help Teaching Your Dog to Love and Tolerate Children click on the heading!

Please Teach Your Dog to Sit for Interaction or You May End up in a Dangerous Situation!

You Must Teach Them

The first thing to realize is that you need to be able to control the dog!

If you have a wild leaper when people come to your house, you must put your dog on a leash when people come to visit!  This is the only way you can control HOW your dog socializes.

I make my dogs sit for interaction with adults and lay down (only with a social dog; laying down can make a nervous or fearful dog worse because he feels more out of control in this position) for interaction with children!  It is too hard for them to control their little (or big) bodies while they are standing.  But it is very difficult to sit or lay down AND jump on someone!

I also make sure that I am in control of the petter!  Many people will say “I don’t mind if she jumps on ME” and whereas that is a kind response…that doesn’t help the 2 year old that wants to pet her or the 92 year old that talks to her outside the store.

It is crucial that your dog learns to treat EVERYONE the same and with the respect that all people deserve!

So, don’t let them jump up on anyone; this sets them up for success even if they are meeting a person that doesn’t like dogs.

Explain to people who want to pet your dog, but demand that if they get up from a sitting or down position that they can no longer be petted.  Most people understand if you say, “She has to have good behavior with toddlers too!  So I never allow her to jump”

I also don’t allow my dogs to do anything but “flirt” with people who don’t want to interact with them.

I Want a Safe Dog

I am never going to discourage my social dogs from smiling, wagging, and generally flirting with other people.  If you don’t pay attention to my Service Dog she will roll onto her back and expose her tummy and then when she catches your eye, she will wag and wiggle about on the floor.  I happen to think it is pretty cute when she does this, but not everyone is convinced (although most people fall for it).

She can only socialize physically when I tell her she can!  I usually say “Go say HI” and she goes over rubs across their legs and then sits for them to pet her.  I allow this touching because I have learned to control it and I know only how far the rubbing will go, and I encourage this behavior with people at the nursing home.  This rubbing can help some patients to wake up from a trance like state and enjoy her.

Once you have total control over your dog you can choose what behavior you want and what behaviors you don’t want.

You can’t change your dog’s personality, but you can learn to work with it and use it to your benefit while being thankful for having a best friend that wants to meet new friends!

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  1. elaine says:

    I am in the process of training my Yorkie (the most social dog I’ve ever owned) to be a service dog. I can see where it will be difficult for him to control his excitement around new people. I shall try some of your pointers.


    Mary Hopkins Reply:

    With a little time your yorkie will be very good, with all my yorkies i find lots of prays and food does the job.


  2. susan says:

    i have a 5 month old siberian husky that every time someone walks in the door,she will not leave them alone.i keep her on a leash when people are here,but i can’t do that all the time. she loves kids, adults all kinds of animals.she is the best dog.she knows 10 tricks, she has been housebroken since she was not even 2 months old. i just don’t know what to when people come over mainly kids.


    Minette Reply:

    Keep her on a leash and teach her how to act and react with people and with children and only allow one child at a time to pet her! She should sit or lay down if she wants to be petted!


  3. Valette Beal says:

    I recently got 2 rescue dogs. One is a 1 and 1/2 yer old female Australian Cattle Dog mix, the other a 7 year old male German Shepherd. They are good until someone comes to the door. The young one runs to the door jumping and barking gleefully whether she knows the guest or not. When she does this, he gets very agitated and barks and tries to get her away from the “intruder”. They usually end up in a fight with growling, snarling and barking but NOT hurting each other. This continues for extended lengths of time until I can get ahold of one or the other and put him or her in another room. It is very agitating because I am 76 years old and have older guests that become frightened. If I know someone is coming I just put them in another room before the guest arrives. I am 76 years old and have always had dogs, but raised them as puppies when it was MUCH easier to correct their behavior.


    Minette Reply:

    You will probably have to teach them obedience separately in the beginning. They must learn to listen to you!

    Then I would suggest putting one or both of them on a leash when people come over.

    If the 7 year old can control himself without barking and jumping or acting out of control then he can remain off leash.

    You can leash the 1 and a half year old and teach her appropriate behavior. Leaving her in another room does not teach her how to act when people visit, so if you can put her on a leash and use treats to teach her what behaviors you like!


  4. Jackie says:

    My 11 month old Australian Shepherd has calmed down nicely in our home and when we walk alone. She loves people and always wanted to jump up and give them doggie kisses. Now with instructions to the people we make her sit before they pay her any attention. It is beginning to work. If she sees another dog while we are out for exercise she gets very excited. Even standing up on her hind legs to get a better look and of course pulling on the leash. When it is agreed the two dogs should run and play off leash she gets along fine romping with many other dogs. I am taking her to group lessons and hoping eventually she will be able to handle meeting and greeting other dogs more calmly. I look forward to many years of enjoyment and exercise with this pet. She is very sensitive as well as energetic.


    Minette Reply:

    Good for you! Classes will help her learn when she has to pay attention and when she can play!


  5. Jesika says:

    I have a 14 month old English Bulldog who is about 80 pounds. He gets SO excited when people come over, adults, or children. I have tried leashing him, but he pulls so hard that he literally will pull me off the couch! Or he chokes himself trying to go jumo all over people. He is a very smart dog and listens very well for the most part except when people come over. He can’t even hear me trying to get him to behave. I have had to start putting him in his kennel, but I would really like to not have to do that. DO you have any advice for me?


    Minette Reply:

    Use a gentle leader so that he can’t pull you or strangle himself and then find some really good treats.

    Hopefully he will ignore other people and sit next to you because he wants really good treats! Use liver or something REALLY good so that he is too distracted by you to want to jump on anyone else!


    Sylvie Reply:

    I have the exact same problem as Jesika, it,s like my 15 months old bouvier/german mix goes off on another planet, she can not be reached, never mind the best goodies in the world won’t do it….she does wear a gentle lead, but she just jumps all over…I instruct my guess to ignore her….but my 93 year old father in law… god…..
    After about 3 minutes of that she comes back to earth and finaly connects back with me….so another trick for my tornado dog and me? Thanks so much!


    Jackie Reply:

    What helped Casey to calm down in the house when we return home or guests arrive is that we asked them to come in and ignore her by turning their backs to her, not making eye contact and above all not speaking to her. They continued this ignoring until she’d sit and wait to be petted. We enforce this when ever we enter the house also. A knee to the chest can discourage jumping and later I found showing her my flat palms over her head sent the no jump message. All dogs can learn good behavior it is up to us to learn how to teach it to them and be consistent. They are so much easier to love and appreciate when they behave.

  6. Merle Ann says:

    Hi…I have a 11 month old Mini French Poodle (little Bear) he is chocolat brown. when we are outside and people come by he now automatically will sit and anxiously wait to be petted, I don’t even have to tell him anymore…:O)

    …however at home it is a different story and I have also finally aquired a clicker but am having a hard time making him understand what I want.

    This is the first dog I have ever had and I am 72 years old, we have been to one training class for 6 weeks and he does well there too…as I am typing this though it has make me think it is at home I have become so lack, but he is so smart and so much fun…

    However I do want him to be gentle with my elderly friends and the younger grandchildren…What do I do Now…????


    Minette Reply:

    Train at home! Invite family and friends who are willing to work with you and him.

    Put him on a leash and teach him the same thing you have taught him out in public and at training class, he will be petted if he sits and is calm. If he doesn’t sit…he will not.

    He will quickly learn that by sitting he can control his interaction with people and will sit! Just be patient and work on it as often as you can…and don’t get lazy and forget the leash before your guests enter 😉


    Merle Ann Reply:

    Thank You…I guess I knew this all along…but sometimes (like family) they just knock and enter before I am able (handicapped a bit…I am) to get to the leash…I know I need to explain that to them…God Bless and thanks again


  7. Sheri says:

    Thank you for the training instruction.

    A question please: my 1 yr. old terrier/collie mix tries to play by running alongside me or the children and nipping at us. And he bites very hard!

    He is not being aggressive and cannot understand why we want to play, then get mad at him when he tries to play his way!

    Any suggestions on how to teach him to “play nice?”


    Minette Reply:

    Put him on a leash and teach him impulse control. The collie may be trying to herd you and the terrier is probably biting too hard!!

    He has to be taught WHAT to do and HOW to do it when he is around the children and when you all play! He doesn’t know what to do now, so snap a leash on him and teach him!


  8. Herman says:

    Firsti of all, thanks for the advice, but we just adopted a Great Pyree’s which is a sheep or goat dog, which no one knows where it come from, no one claimed him, therefore I happened to come by that day, and we hit is off like we knew each other for a long time.
    I know he had had some command training, not sure if he is a work, or home pet, but the latter seems evident.
    I am finding that he wants to pull, and is over active when it comes to jumping upon anyone, but I have noticed with a firm command to get down, he does that, along with a command to sit, which he gets confused and lays down some time.
    I find that when he wants to pull too much, I give the command to Heel, and shorten his leash bringing him close to my side, after awhile I give him more room on the lease, and then command him with easy, and a light jerk on the leash, seems to make him slow down.
    If he is determined to keep pulling, I will turn around cutting his walk short, bring him back to the house.
    He is very smart, and I am trying, as you say, to let him figure out what he is doing wrong, seems that Ignoring him for periods of time, makes him think that he has done something that is not pleasing, then he seems to catch on pretty fast.
    I had an Akita, and the best thing that worked when she over-reacted, was to take her to a bedroom, make her stay there while company was with us, and after while she knew that if she did not behave, she would not get to spend time with my guest.
    Akita is a very find watch/family all around dog, if you can get past the shedding of hair, but very smart, but in a recoveery dog, I have learned that don’t try to make them accept you, let them do it on their own, and tell other to let the dog come to them, Ignore, turn away, this seems to work, which i don’t recommed that they do that with a vicious biting dog. before anyone comes, they need to be made to realize as much as possible the nature of the dog, and caution them with what you expect them to do and how to act with the animal.
    I find a reward is the most effective way to let you pet know when they are doing the right command, and slowly start skipping, after the respond naturally.
    I have had many rescue dogs, and some can be handled, others you are wasting your time and money, ususally when they are in a Shelter, or adoption agence, there is a reason, so make sure that you get the documation as to why they are there.
    Hope this helps someone, My Pyree’s namd is Snow, that is Melvin Snow. about two to three years old.
    My family loves him, and so does he love the family


  9. Bob says:

    The jumping on guest upon arival hits the nail on the head. Miky is 13 months and full of nothing but love. He feels as if petting him is something everyone,including him, need and want. The leash inside the house never occured to me. I’ll let you know how it works out,,,tail still wagging,,Miky and Bob


  10. Jesika says:

    Thank you! I will definitely try those suggestions. Will the gentle leader wok on his smushed up face?


  11. Hans says:


    It helps if you would tell all your visitors , on entrance of your house , to ignore the dog until he/she calms down a bit.
    no eye contact , not touching and for sure no talking in an excited high pitch voice to the dog.
    dogs learn by trail and error…what works they will keep on doing….so…if getting attention is the game of him/her jumping up , he/she must get he opposite until she sits down.
    jumping up is and instinctual behaviour still present in out house friends…jumping up and liking lips of returning adults was the action needed to get food regurgitated…
    you can also use sound aversion to keep the front door of limits to your dog
    good luck!

    With kind regards,



  12. Tina says:

    Good Morning~
    I wish so much I had a more social pup. I adopted a 10 month old Corgi male from a rescue in June of 2011. He is a year and 1/2 now and he is still very slow to warm up to people. At the dog park he really doesn’t know how or want to play with the other dogs and he will not come to people for attention until he is certain about them (really certain). It took until week six of his obedience 1 class to take a treat from the teacher. He does have dog friends, (other Corgis) that we occasionally have play dates with. He is very skittish around unfamiliar territory and doesn’t like to be picked up or held. He will come for pets and obnoxiously hound me for attention at times. I don’t know his history regarding the situation to which he was born. I was hoping with time he would become more social and trusting. I am pretty sure he’ll never be a lap dog or maybe he’ll come around with more loves from me. Either way, I love him to pieces.
    Is there training we could do at home to help him be less anxious? He seems pretty content to just hike, play and hang with me and his older sister. Is it really so important to have an outgoing and social dog?
    Sorry to be so long winded, but sometimes people are so offended if he come to them right away, that I have done something wrong to have him end up this way. Thanks for the ear~


    Minette Reply:

    Read this to help him feel better.

    No not all dogs have to be overly social, just confident in their own skin and under your control!

    Work on obedience and fun and I am sure you will continue to see improvements!


  13. Verdonne says:

    Thanks for the great helpful hints. Working w/leash on socializing on walks. Using leash for visitors but gradually working towards Go to Mat before allowing guests in. Sunny is not quite 2 but is settling down considerably. Not jumping up but sitting for pets more and more. Still barks agressively at dogs he isn’t sure of, defensive barks I think. So helpful to know what dog is thinking and getting him to respond to me. Awesome help! Thank you.


  14. Most people don’t even think about the adult dog option—they just go out and get a puppy. They’re so cute! Adorable! Fun!


  15. Lin says:

    I have a 14mnth old huskyxGSD, rescued her at 4mths, did clicker obedience training, very well behaved at home and in classes BUT forgets all training on walks when she sees another dog, grounds herself lunges forward, no yummy treats work, eventually I let her go as she is too strong for me to hold, she has already dislocated my little finger. she charges off about 10m from the other dog she lies down and waits and then initiates play, if other dogs seem unfriendly she comes back to me.

    I just want her to go play on command.
    Have a fully trained GSD who goes off leash and listens to me.


  16. Carla Lund says:

    I have a huge (80 lb.) 9 month old Chocolate lab, Max. He is a jumping maniac! He is at the sliding glass doors jumping like a kangaroo when someone comes over or when I come home. We can’t let him out when the grandchildren are here because he jumps on them. I will try the technique of keeping him on a leash. He will sit on command and lie down, but he has a hard time staying down. He just wants to play constantly!! Beautiful dog, TONS of energy.

    Any more ideas?

    Thanks, Carla


    Minette Reply:

    He is a baby and he is excited! You just need to give him the skills to conquer his excitement! A leash and teaching him manners when people visit and LOTS OF EXERCISE 😉


  17. marilynn says:

    Adopted a ten month old terrier mix Maddie in January. She weighs about 40 pounds and has made marked improvements since we adopted her. Two weeks ago we adopted another terrier mix Spencer. He is almost two. He wieghs about twenty pounds. Maddie wants to play with Spencer every minute of the day!!!! Spencer will play but eventually runs to find me. I have tried time outs, attaching her to a leash that is attached to me,and this weekend I ordered the dog training secrets program. Any suggestions in the mean time?


    Minette Reply:

    Let him have his own space and time alone, he is being good natured but he shouldn’t have to put up with her in his face constantly.

    Let him go outside alone and be in a crate or with you on a walk one on one.

    Then you must teach her to leave him alone when you tell her to!

    She also needs lots of exercise, if she is too tired she can’t irritate him!!


    Marilynn Reply:

    Hi. Thank you for the quick response. Since ths e-mail I have been diiligent with sending Maddie to her mat before the playing gets out of hand. This seems to be helping. Thanks for the alone time suggestion. Maddie is going to daycare one day a week and my husband will be taking her to the park every day to let out some of her energy. I have been clicker training Maddie and now with all the tips from the downloads, I know things will get better!!!


  18. Ruth Comeau says:

    My Jack Russell Shih Tsu cross won’t even let me look at my phone while he is around … Honestly he is nice and approachable but he gets jealous and howls for attention if you even check the oven, any recommendations? He also has separation anxiety and I think that makes it worse 🙁


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