As you well know, attention is the most important thing for a dog.
Puppy needs to develop consciousness that your commands are the most important and be able to obey you at all times. Otherwise you will have to deal with restless, undisciplined dog which, in worst case scenario, might even attack another human.
Attention training for dogs is used as a basis for any other training and is important way of conveying a message to a dog. It improves its focus and teaches him how to respond to your voice.
During the training dog needs to understand when he needs to pay attention to you.
Attention training itself usually doesn’t lead to anything but instead is coupled with other trainings and tricks.
Let’s check some ground rules.
Attention training 1.01
As any other dog training, this one needs to be performed from the onset, when puppy is still small. It is something that needs to be habitual.
Given the importance of being attentive, this training needs to be done before anything else. Only when you are certain that dog pays attention to you and is prepared to learn new commands can you start with other forms of training.
So how do you start?
First, you need to teach the dog his name.
Like anything else, there needs to be a basic commands that will force the dog to respond to you. In order to simply pay attention to you, it is enough for him to learn his name. This is the basis of communication.
Ideally, you and the dog should be alone in the room.
Make sure that the dog initially isn’t paying attention to you; perhaps he is playing with his toy or something else. Then, start calling his name. Once he notices you and looks at you, make sure to give him a treat.
With this method, you are making sure dog understands he got rewarded for looking at you: first he was doing something else and once he responded to you calling him, he got a treat. When it comes to treat, make sure to use something that dog really likes and rarely gets. This will strengthen stimulation making sure that the dog is more likely to listen to you in future.
As you go forth, amount of treats should be reduced. Dog will have to work more and more for the same amount of treats. Of course, your attention is to completely remove them out of equation and for dog to simply listen to you. After a while, pat on the head will suffice instead of a treat.
Getting the dog to listen to you is relatively easy if there are no distractions. However, the issue occurs if there are things which are more interesting than you. Here, I am primarily talking about toys and food.
Attention training is something that you should be able to use in every situation. For example, when you go out for a walk, it is necessary for a dog to listens when you need to go back. If the dog is allowed to play as much as he wants, it can pose a troublesome precedent which will come to haunt you in future.
Best way to train your dog is by putting him in the same room with you. This time around, make sure to add some distractions such as favorite toy on the floor or food bowl. When the dog reaches out to grab it (and he most certainly will) you need to prevent him from getting the toy or food. Cover it with your hands or feet. Then, start calling out the dog.
Here, you need to wait until the dog responds and switches attention to you. He needs to know that it’s not allowed to eat, drink or play while you’re calling to him. Your command needs to be a priority before anything else. Only when he understands that, you will be able to communicate with him in any situation.
Attention training requires some patience but is generally easy thing to do.
It is a good way to improve your relationship with the dog and improve communication so make the best out of it!