How to Make My Dog Pay Attention to Me

Your pup needs loving yet firm redirection of his attention.
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A good human-canine relationship involves attentive behavior from both parties. If it appears your dog is aloof or not paying attention to you, he might not be well-socialized or trained to understand your behavioral expectations. A little time and effort on your part can help foster a positive, loving and respectful relationship between you and your pooch.

Obedience Training

Implement an obedience training program for your pup, either on your own, with a personal in-home dog trainer or behavioral expert, or in a group obedience school setting. This approach will help you establish dominance over your dog and develop a system by which you can effectively issue commands to your pup. Most dogs want to please their human companions, and completing an obedience training program that gives you solid tools and techniques can aid in this effort.


Introduce your dog to other people and animals, and socialize him in different public settings. When you take a proactive and hands-on approach with your dog, you're more likely to encourage his attention. Part of the process includes helping your pup understand appropriate behaviors inside and outside the home, as well as when in contact with others. Socialization gives you an opportunity to practice your newfound obedience training skills, issuing commands to your dog and appropriately correcting his behaviors if your commands are ignored.


Dogs thrive on the attention and interaction of their human companions. Playing with your dog on a regular basis will help you establish a loving and trusting bond. Your dog will also begin to recognize that he must give you attention and respond to your directives in order to enjoy playtime, which can be a powerful incentive. Incorporate your behavioral and obedience training with play to reinforce your dog's good behavior. For example, play fetch with your dog, issuing your “sit” and “stay” commands as part of the process.


Offer positive rewards when your dog pays attention to you; give loving, physical attention or high-value treats and snacks. For example, give your dog a tasty treat when he comes on your command. Repeating this behavior consistently will show your dog that when he listens to you, something good happens. Over time you can decrease doling out snacks because the behavior will be ingrained in your dog’s memory, and he will pay attention to you without the need for constant rewards.