Dogs are pretty restless beings especially when they are little. It is in their nature to be carefree and playful. However this is something that is common for all the animals.
As they grow up, they become a part of biggest structure, bigger hierarchy where like wolves, they have a pack leader. It is a natural state of being for these animals.
Unlike the wild where one individual asserts control, in human world this control becomes loose after a while. This is precisely why some dogs become stubborn and undisciplined. And also why dog attention training in particular are so important for a pet and your relationship with him.
Let’s review this particular training, why it’s so important and how to do it!
Importance of attention training
Dog experts put a lot of emphasis on attention training and for a good reason.
If you wish to do any subsequent training with your pet (and you most likely will) you need to set up a good basis. And attention training is just that. Simply put, if you cannot grab pet’s attention, you won’t be able to do any subsequent training or anything in fact.
Dog needs to listen to your commands and pay attention to what you’re telling or showing him. This is the only way it can memorize commands during future training.
What is the main secret behind attention training?
Like most similar animal training it is a process of hits and misses.
First and foremost you need to be very patient and prevent for mistakes. Have in mind that physical punishment is completely wrong and you should avoid any approach that suggests it. Instead, you will have to focus on a system of treats or rewards.
Whenever your dog does something right make sure to pet it, praise it or give it a treat. This develops a positive confirmation teaching it that the thing he did was right and that there is a reward for proper behavior.
You can establish whether a dog is paying attention or not if he looks straight into you. This is a sign that the dog waits for further command and understand the fact that you have a message that you wish to convey.
However, you should never force dog to pay attention for nothing.
During this process, pet will learn that you wish something from it. If you’re constantly asking him to pay attention and you have nothing to say (or even worse, if you’re not giving him a treat) dog will start ignoring you.
But do not be too preoccupied with this. Dogs can easily feel your emotions and feel whether you’re sad or happy. This is actually something that leads them through daily routine.
Attention exercises start with eye contact. This is the main prerequisite for the whole process and is the best way to tell if the dog is focused on you or something else. It is necessary to insist on eye contact no matter what.
- Tell your dog to sit down and be quit
- You need to have an initial command that will be used in future and based on which the dog will be able to tell that it has to pay attention
- Wait until he looks at you, no matter how long it takes
- When dog starts looking you in the eyes, give him a treat
It is also necessary to improve dog’s focus whenever you can. If a dog looks at you but quickly loses attention, you might have issues in future as it won’t be able to pay too much attention as you’re telling it something. So, it is something you have to practice.
- If you already managed to create eye contact, take dog’s favorite toy and put it in front of him
- Whenever he goes to grab it, make sure to cover the toy
- Do not allow the dog to get a hold of it no matter what
- When the dog loses interest and once again focuses on you, give him a treat
These are the simple basis of attention exercise. Have in mind that there are some other methods that can be added but these are bare basics that are enough to make your dog disciplined.