Do you have a pup who’s rock solid but lately they’re acting out? Is your good dog getting ruder and ruder? If so, one of the reasons could be that they’re trying to communicate with you.

When teenagers are trying to get their parents attention, they don’t say “mom, dad I need to talk to you.” Instead they steal something, go for a joy ride or do something else out of character. These actions can often be cries for attention rather then forays down the wrong road.

The same can be true with dogs. If an otherwise good dog is struggling, take a good hard look at them. Have you gotten busier and it’s impacted their routine? Did you adopt a new dog or cat and now they don’t have any one on one time with you? Even if you cannot pinpoint the cause, sometimes just taking the time to focus on the dog can help alleviate the issues.

First, spend some real time with them, one on one. Let them hang with you while you do chores or just watch tv, without anyone else around. Downtimes are the best when you’re just being yourself and they can hang, investigate and enjoy a bone or special treat.

Then focus on them, actually notice what they’re doing; Are they going after a particular spot on their body? Or is their ear hotter than normal? Or do they just want cuddle or ball time? Many dogs are like kids and enjoy one on one time, but struggle to ask for it. What’s your dogs favorite spot? Can you get them to sigh happily? What’s their favorite game? Have you played it lately?

So if you notice your dog is starting to exhibit rude behaviors, take the time to focus on them and see if they’re trying to tell you something, get your attention, or just hang with you. It’ll be time well spent!