The ability of a dog to focus on their pawrent is essential to start any training. If your dog is not focused on you because, for example, they are sniffing around, they will not follow a command, and you should not be surprised. It is therefore essential to teach the dog to redirect their attention to their parent. It is the parent who should be the most interesting for the pup so that they will willingly interact with you even when there are other stimuli around. If your dog is easily distracted read this article and let us recommend some training advice.
A distraction for your dog can be anything. Every dog is different, and everyone reacts differently to a variety of things. For one dog, a big distraction will be another dog in the near distance. For another, a leaf falling from a tree. Of course, how a dog reacts to a given stimulus can have many underlying causes, such as socialization or past events. For example, a dog introduced to cars when they were a puppy is not likely to pay attention to them, but if a dog sees them for the first time, they may react with solid stress.
For this reason, you need to keep a close eye on your dog and notice what they find distracting so that you can tailor an appropriate training plan for them. You cannot expect a dog that, for example, is afraid of other dogs to follow commands in a park full of other animals immediately.
Learning to Focus
It is helpful to start teaching your dog to pay attention to you as early as possible. Still, it is usually not a problem to teach this to an older dog. The easiest way to teach it to a dog is to call them and wait for them to look you in the eyes. It is most intuitive to say your dog’s name at times when you want to get something from your dog and when they pay attention to you, tell their own name. It is most intuitive to say your dog’s name at times when you want to get something from your dog, and when he pays attention to you, say further commands.
Some dogs may have trouble looking a person in the eye. In dogs, this behavior is a threatening message. Primal breeds (e.g., Husky, Akita, etc.) may have difficulty with this. In this case, if you see your dog avoiding your gaze, try teaching them to look at your mouth or in your direction.
How to Start Training
Focus training is best started at home, where there are the fewest distractions. When your pup is not looking at you, say their name and wait for the moment when they look into your eyes. At first, it may be literally seconds, so it is crucial to precisely at this moment reward the dog. Additionally, a clicker will be helpful. When your pup looks into your eyes, click and reward them. The reward can be a treat, a toy, or praise. It is essential to find something that is a lot of fun for your dog. It will make them more willing to cooperate. If your dog doesn’t look at you, never repeat their name, because in this case, you might teach them to ignore your words. Instead, it’s better to smack, whistle, or make any sound that will attract the dog’s attention.
Gradually, once your pet has learned to look you in your eyes, extend the stares before you reward them and, in small steps, bring in more significant distractions. At first, it may be a person walking around your dog. Then take the exercises outside and increase the number of stimuli. Suppose your dog learns to focus on you in any circumstances. In that case, the chance that they will perform any command in big distractions is high.
You can find detailed step-by-step instructions on how to teach a dog to focus on you in the Dogo app. Search for the exercises “Name”, “Name II” and next try our more difficult challenge, “Name in a circle.” Good luck!