Incredible tips and tricks that will help you with dog’s attention training!
Oftentimes attention training is presented as the most important process for disciplining your dog. If you think about it that makes sense because if your dog doesn’t listen to you, there is no way you can teach it anything else.
This kind of a training needs to be performed at a very early age while dog is still a puppy. It will become habitual over time and after a while you will have nicely behaving friend that will never embarrass you in company.
Here are some dog attention basics from Kaufmann’s puppy training that you need to know before you start actual training.
Attention training basics
Attention training is not only about focus. It is also about dog responding to you and trying to understand the message you’re conveying. It sets up a basis for communication between owner and puppy and it is something that will remain with the dog until the rest of his life.
Ideally, you should have a dog that will give you his full attention for several minutes. Still, if you’re unable to get to that point, it will be ok if the dog can at least acknowledge some basic commands.
Like any dog training, this one needs to be done with patience and love.
Attention training shouldn’t use any kind of force or coercion. It is something that needs to become habitual in dog’s mind so that he can respond each and every time in future. Basically, instead of using harsh methods, it is much better to go with treats and petting.
How is attention training being done?
Best way to start is by calling the dog by his name. When the dog finally responds and starts looking at you, give him a treat. This is basic step where dog learns his name and starts responding to it.
When it comes to treats, you need to have a lot of them at first. Dog will expect a reward for anything he does so make sure to provide (at least initially). Also, make sure to have a treat that dog almost never gets but loves. This will stimulate him even more to learn.
After a while this ritual can transfer into petting and later on, you will likely be able to stop providing incentive altogether.
But learning his name is just the first step.
Remember, point of attention training is not only responding but also staying focus for a while.
The more you’re able to prolong attention span of a dog, the better it gets. Still have in mind that your dog doesn’t have to look at you for half an hour; it is enough to notice you and understand basic commands.
Try to extend his attention span by using hand movement or something else that seems intriguing (for him of course). When dog stops looking at you, make sure to call his name and give him additional treat. Continue doing this for a while.
Exercise should be repeated several times a week.
Additional ways to improve focus
You might’ve seen some dog shows where dog needs to run an obstacle course while there are various treats and toys on his path.
These treats and toys are used so that the dog wonders off his path.
Same can be done during attention training.
Once dog has learned the basics and started responding to you, you need to make sure he will respond in every situation. Best way to do it? By putting a lot of distractions in the room.
Make sure room is full of toys and treats lying around. Dogs being dogs, they will instantly go for them instead of listening to you. It is necessary to break up this behavior and “explain” to the dog that you are the one that has priority.
Whenever dog tries to reach something, make sure to remove it or cover it. Prevent him from fetching the toy and instead, call out his name. Once he looks at you, make sure to remove the barrier and free the toy. If the dog goes for toy once again, repeat the same and cover it once again.
Your ultimate goal is for dog to prioritize you over the toy or food.