Attention-seeking behaviour in its many forms is the most pervasive problem dog owners face.
So what is attention-seeking behaviour? It is a behaviour that gets your attention. Some of these may be cute, like sitting with their head cocked to one side and giving a little whine. Some behaviours only indicate that your dog may want to play and those can be a healthy thing to respond to. But some persistent bad behaviours can be downright irritating, like a dog trying to do its thing on your leg or a dog pawing at you when you are trying to enjoy a meal.
Try not to think of attention-seeking dogs as anything but rude. If they were children, they would be pulling on your sleeve while you talk on the phone. The best way to eliminate, or at least dramatically curb, attention-seeking behaviour is to do your absolute best to totally ignore the attention seeker. This could be one of the hardest things you have had to do with your dog, but it works like a charm. If he is pushing at you, fold your arms and look away. One thing to keep in mind is that your dog will likely get worse before he gets better. He will keep on trying harder and harder to get your attention because it has worked for him in the past. On a side note, be cautious about which behaviours you ignore. For instance, if a dog is hungry it may just be trying to tell you with that paw or if it is itching to go outside, it may need to relieve itself.
You know your dog and the signs they give you to communicate their needs. As with children, usually if we are consistent and timely in responding to their needs, they will not resort to negative behaviour to get our attention.