Want to Get and Keep Your Dog’s Attention?

Thanks Jaymiheimbuch.com for the perfect photo

Want to get your dog’s attention AND KEEP IT?  Remember that your dog can’t give you eye contact and focus AND pull you on the leash!  This is a great command to have in your tool bag.

I have taught multiple classes teaching my clients how to get their dog’s attention or “eye contact and focus” on command.  For more on teaching eye contact and focus click the link. 

It sounds easy right?

It’s just getting your dog to look at you on command.  That can’t be tooo terribly difficult!

If I have a dime for everyone who told me (when they start our companion dog program) that they didn’t need 2 weeks just working on eye contact and focus (because it sounds so easy) I could retire happy.

But the truth is; it is not easy.

First off it isn’t easy to get the behavior on command because it is nearly impossible to force.

People tend to be too early or too late or simply not patient enough to reward the behavior and they don’t understand the principles of intermittent reinforcement to extend the duration of the behavior.

So they may be able to get the behavior eventually, but struggle to extend it even when there are no distractions (again see intermittent reinforcement).

Or they push for the behavior in very distracted environments when the dog doesn’t have the foundation he needs to be successful.

Eye Contact is Critical for Good Behavior.  Thanks 3 bitches for the photo

Eye Contact is Critical for Good Behavior. Thanks 3 bitches for the photo

Pushing Your Dog Before He is Ready

If I had a quarter for every time one of my clients pushed their dog for a newly learned behavior without having the training and foundation he needs, well I could buy my own secluded island.

People think once they teach a dog a new behavior, that that behavior will now be reliable everywhere without more training sessions or until they can get another training session in.

The truth is that dogs need lots of repetition and patience and learning in many environments, working your way from no distractions to many distractions, before the behavior is reliable.  For more on this phenomenon click here.

A dog must be 95% accurate before you can expect to start adding more difficulty and distractions to the command.

But by asking for a behavior that is not 95% accurate, is not completely learned, and is not tested in a distracting environment you are setting your dog and your training up for failure.

What happens is he hears you give the command (usually many times)but he doesn’t comply; so essentially the command = nothing.  He is learning to ignore the command instead of being successful by complying even under the most distracting circumstances.

It is more important to TEACH the command in all environments and set him up for success!

Another Trick for Keeping Your Dog’s Attention?

Want another trick for keeping your dog’s attention (remember to first teach it, then add distractions, prior to taking him out for a walk etc.) .

So once you have taught him attention and focus, and you can get him to heel while giving you attention then you can move to this trick.

YOU’RE BORING

I wanted to put that in caps so you can pick it out and digest the information.

Trust me, to your dog, when you are on a walk you are booooring!

You must compete for your dog’s attention with the birds, and smells, and kids and squirrels and everything else going on around him and let’s face it… he knows you so the moment you become boring is the moment you lose his focus.

How Do You Become LESS Boring?

I have to admit I am not all that exciting, but I have to make my dog think I am.

One simple way is to MOVE FASTER

Chances are when you walk your dog, you stroll.  You amble and look and stroll along and your dog has a chance to pay attention to other things.

If you simply move a little faster and make your dog trot, you become much more exciting and your dog has less time to meander and wander and pay attention to everything else!

Put a little pep in your step!  It’s pretty easy actually!

Thanks jaymiheimbuch for the perfect photo illustration!

Thanks jaymiheimbuch for the perfect photo illustration!

Not athletically inclined?

Just change your pace often, go from walking fast to jogging, to walking really slow, to walking your normal pace.

By changing your pace you teach your dog to pay attention to YOU.

I also like to add sits and downs in motion and other obedience commands just to keep my dog stimulated.

If I want to “stroll” through my neighborhood I will do that on my own without my dog or I will wait until my dog is well trained enough that he can give me eye contact no matter how boring I am.

Remember your dog needs exercise (moving faster helps) and mental stimulation (learning to adjust HIS speed to keep up with you) to keep him fulfilled and happy!

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Comments

  1. Tiffany Howard says:

    Hi There

    I live in SA.

    Would love to pick up a hard copy of your “hands-off dog training secrets” but unfortunatley i am too far and shipping would be far too expensive and take to long to reach me.

    Do you have a digital version (how does it work) do you have different packages? i have quite a tight budget.

    I look forward to hearing from you Chet.

    I enjoy your daily emails with tips etc.

    Regards
    Tiffany Howard

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Check out our store here https://womach.infusionsoft.com/app/storeFront/showStoreFront

    many programs can be downloaded.

    [Reply]

  2. Clarice Garnett says:

    My dog is hound lab mix. She is so strong that I am so discouraged. (I am a 67 year old retired from education).
    I keep trying to use your good advice but she is just so hyper, jumps on our friends,chases our old cats.. I don’t think she will ever learn. My husband has given up on her. She has wild streaks and runs and jumps from couch to couch, to chairs, and won’t stop until I can finally get hold of her and put her in her kennel, for time to calm down.
    I’ve given up trying to take her for walks because I can’t hold her. All dog training shows I’ve watched never have hound dogs.still working on eye contact.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would recommend a gentle leader head halter for her and use it in the house if you need to… for me the most important time for you to have obedience is at home where 90% of living happens.

    [Reply]

  3. Antoinette Carpenter says:

    I have a 15 month old border collie who has successfully completed the AKC STAR Puppy class with our local dog training club. However as we progressed to the next level of class he will no longer focus on me. I have tried everything. His favorite treat. His favorite toy. Dancing. Singing. Squeaky toy and nothing! He will focus on everything around him. Other dogs. Trainers. Fans for cooling. Etc. at home around our other dogs he is fine. Performs all his commands perfectly. But when we take him out to socialize him in public. He ducks his tail and hides behind me. I’m so frustrated I’m not sure what to do. I want to train him to do agility but I have to get him to focus before I can move on to the next level of class.

    [Reply]

  4. Heather Gibson says:

    I have an 8 month old cane corso. He is stubborn as hell. Sometimes he is great and listens completely. Other times he completely ignores me. He walks great at the beginning of our walks, even off leash at the park, but as soon as we head home no matter which direction I change it too he pulls like crazy. I cant snap him out of it. I’ve tried everything it feels like and nothing works! I cant even get him to look at me he just is on mission for home.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    training needs to happen at home with no distractions and conflict avoided. I would work harder on eye contact and basic training and avoid walking for a bit until you get this under control

    [Reply]

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