A dog who does not want attention


New Member
Hey Everybody!

I have an 11 month old Great Dane, named Moose, he is a Merlequin with multi colors in his coat, as well as 2 different colored eyes. He is obeident trained and has an interesting personality. Ever since I have had him he does not like getting attention from strangers he does not know, only in 1:1 situations. If it is a group of people he is fine with it. When he gets this way he gives them his growl/bark and walks away. He is such a unique dog that everyone wants to see him and pet him. I socialize him all the time and cant think of anything to get him to stop this. He goes to the dog park at least 3 times a week and sees the same people all the time but he still will not let them pet him. If i hold him he will let them. He has no aggression toward dogs. We have 3 other dogs in the house and none of them do it. At home he takes any attention he gets and seeks it out. Any suggestions?



New Member
While you hold him have the person petting him give him treats. Then very gradually have less of a hold on him, then just stand next to him, then be one step away, two steps, etc. Only go as fast as he can handle. For example each step could take anywhere from a few people to a week or two for him to be comfortable.


Experienced Member
I wouldn't hold him, being forced to socialize with someone who makes him nervous can result in him becoming fearful. Have the people he's nervous about give him treats and do some classical conditioning, he'll at least learn that strangers can be positive that way.
His behavior could be linked to a fear stage, take your time with him and help him through this.


Honored Member
I like Rouen's advice. I think being handed treats by strangers is good idea, but, forcing dog to submit to unwanted petting that he is not comfortable with will NOT help your dog relax around strangers, imo.

And some dogs are just not social butterflies, more "one person" dogs.

You are not alone, here is a similar thread, with Kikopup videos.

and here is Kikopup on "shy" dogs, which, i'm not sure your dog is "shy", but, could still benefit from these excercizes:


Honored Member
I also agree with what rouen said. He very well might be going thru a fear stage, he's still a puppy - just a big one. You want to help him thru this, and holding him and forcing him to be petted when all he really wants to do is leave, could make him worse in the long run. Try setting him up, ask "strangers" (people at the dog park, or friends he doesn't know, neighbors, etc) to give him treats (make them very high value, have this pre-planned, with treats already doled out), and perhaps only have these "strangers" give him treats, without the pressure of petting him at first. Then, maybe at the next meeting (cuz you'll want to keep setting up sessions for him), maybe a treat with a very fast pet under the neck/chest or on the back area - but not on the head or face, then walk away. Take a lot of pressure off of your boy, don't let him immediately think oh nooo, they're all gonna want to pet me, I hate this!! and instead think hmm, the last time he/she had some treats and they did pet me but only for a second and it wasn't too bad, but they had hot dogs (or chicken, or sausage, or whatever - but make sure it's something REALLY good and worth his while!!!) so maybe it'll be ok. Just set up short training sessions with him whenever you can - keep them simple with people you trust to do exactly as you ask. Sometimes just treating and walking away. Let him get comfy with people not wanting anything from him, then gradually start upping the ante, but don't ask him for more than he can give. Give him all the time he needs, no matter how much time that is.

And keep in mind what Tigerlily said above - not all dogs enjoy being petted by a bunch of strangers. Moose may be one of those dogs. True, he may be just fine with other dogs, and of course, he's fine at home - he knows you, he knows what to expect, he loves you, and he's comfortable. Keep in mind that dogs have all kinds of conversations with each other that we don't see. But people and dogs, holy smokes -- we just walk up to dogs and (in the dog world), do all kinds of rude things to them, and we ask them to tolerate it. People pet dogs on the tops of their heads - about as rude a thing as we could do, in the dog world. We touch their faces, pat their heads, get in close to their space -- things they don't do to each other. Some dogs can handle it - and others just don't like it. Some growl, give warnings, bare their teeth, and bite - and some try to walk away. So far, Moose is trying to walk away. Work with him, see if you can help him thru this. Maybe he'll change his mind and decide that strangers can be ok. And if he's one of those dogs who finally decides once and for all that he'd just rather not be the center of attention (no matter how gorgeous he is), then we have to accept them where and as they are, and be their advocate - and send all the happy petters off to find another dog to pet.