When you bring your new puppy home, he is already of age to begin his first obedience training. Some of the most basic commands for obedience training that you can teach your lovely pet are “watch me,” “stay,” “sit,” and “down.”
But what if you discovered your furry buddy has an extremely short attention span? Among the challenges of training, dogs is getting them to pay attention to the lesson and the trainer. Your dog’s learning process is sluggish if he shows little interest in training or is frequently distracted.
Training Tips to Improve Your Dog’s Focus
You can use these five easy tips to boost your dog’s attention during training while still having fun!
1. Only positively refer to your dog by name.
It is essential to emphasize the positive when beginning to train your dogs. Hence, avoiding calling your dog by his name when disciplining or correcting him is vital. Never call your dog by name when you are trying to restrain him from becoming aggressive or at any other time when your pet is just being funny in your home.
However, because he associates so many unpleasant things with this practice, your dog won’t respond positively when you call his name to get his attention during training. As a result, your dog will be difficult to train and easily sidetracked.
Treat timing is crucial in this situation, as in any dog training. To create a positive connection to your dog’s name, prepare some treats you do not usually get. Say your dog’s name in a cheerful, enthusiastic manner while he sits in front of you on a leash and joyfully concentrates on the treat in your hand. Give the treat together with verbal praise as soon as your pet looks up at you.
2. Build a solid and happy relationship with your dog.
How well you get along with your dog significantly impacts how attentive he is to your directions. As previously mentioned, positive reinforcement-based training may be ineffective if you and your pet have not built a solid relationship. As soon as you successfully forge a bond with your dog, attention will follow inevitably.
Your relationship with your furry friend is influenced by various elements, such as your personality and the interactions you have throughout time. Your dog is more likely to pay attention to you if they associate you with goodies, fun training, massages, outings, toys, and activities.
Additionally, those strange and puzzling connections usually serve as the foundation of your love relationship with your pet. But if the connection isn’t strong enough, your dog can focus more on someone else and lose interest in you.
3. Use effective attention-training techniques.
Generally, the two most frequently used attention expressions in dog training are “watch” and your dog’s name. “Watch” commands your dog to pay attention and to look at your face. While saying your dog’s name cheerfully, let your pet know that he is appreciated and treats are on their way.
Once you’ve had your dog’s attention, it’s easier to get them to obey other commands like “down,” “stay,” and “come,” or just to follow you on a walk in a different direction. For your dog to feel happy that they obeyed your command, it’s essential to reinforce specific actions.
In addition, dogs are usually more attentive indoors than outdoors, when there are no distractions, like birds, squirrels, and others. Nevertheless, as with any other skill, teaching your dog to pay attention to cues involves ongoing practice.
4. Amplify attention-training techniques.
Once your dog has mastered “watch me” cues inside your home without little distractions, it is about time to go to a more active environment slowly. Gradually introduce him to busier environments, such as walking around town or in public parks. Your pet will remain attentive to you even in situations with few distractions. In time, you’ll be able to train your dog to obey you in any situation, including when you train him to eat on a schedule.
Additionally, pay close attention to how your pet responds in each training situation you put him in. Before adding more expectations, including asking your dog to execute the behavior for extended periods, let him first master the behavior of incorporating distractions.
5. Make the training brief.
Generally, never subject your dog to an exceptionally long training session. Instead, keep your training sessions short because doing so will assist your dog in maintaining his attention and excitement as you teach him new skills. Training sessions might run from one minute to ten, depending on the dog. You may end your training sessions while your dog is still interested in what you are teaching him to do.
Dog Training Mistakes You Should Avoid
Whenever you force your dog to adapt to training, there is always the risk of him failing to cope. To avoid frustration on both ends of the leash, we’ve listed some typical dog training mistakes you should avoid.
- Repeating Commands. You should only ask your dog once if you believe he has already learned the behavior. If your dog doesn’t pay attention to you, it’s either because you haven’t taught him well, it’s too busy, or it’s just being stubborn.
- Cue Nagging. It happens when your dog doesn’t respond to a command, so you keep saying it. If you keep trying the same training method and your dog isn’t picking up on the cue, take a break and try something else.
- Relying Too Much On Treats. Treats are suitable for training, but using them too much can sometimes backfire. It will cause your dog to become so preoccupied with food that his obedience to your commands will be entirely motivated by the treats.
- Working When Frustrated. Don’t work out when you’re upset. When we’re mad, our patience wears thin, and we’re more likely to get mad at our dog if he doesn’t do something right the first time.
- Inconsistent Training Schedule. If you only schedule training once a week, you won’t have enough time to train your dog. Make sure you practice every day, but only for short periods.
Successfully holding and catching your pet’s attention during training is the cornerstone of all other work you and your dog do together. Following a successful training session, your dog will have greater self-esteem and be more motivated to focus during the next one.