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Getting our dog to pay attention to us is essential for good communication between the two, as well as for their safety outside the home. Once you have taught your dog to recognize his name, you should start training him to pay attention to you.
In this AnimalWised article we will teach you how to make my dog pay attention to you without using signals, thus ensuring that the dog is aware of us on a regular basis, a very useful training that can prevent, for example, your dog from getting lost. ¡Find out how to get started below!You may also be interested: Why does my dog look at me when I sleep? Index
- How to teach a dog to pay attention?
- Possible problems teaching your dog to pay attention
- Precautions when teaching your dog to pay attention
How to teach a dog to pay attention?
Unlike other basic canine obedience exercises, teaching your dog to pay attention will not be training in a distraction-free environment. you will take advantage of distractions daily from the first day of training. Although the training of this exercise is carried out in formal sessions, you can carry it out taking advantage of your dog's walks and other situations of daily life.
In this case we are going to use the clicker to work with the dog, for that reason, if you want to use it as well, we advise you to spend a few days prior to charging the dog's clicker for training.
Follow this step by step to teach your dog to pay attention:
- Go with your dog to a place where there are some mild distractions. Your dog should be distracted, but not so distracted that he will never look at you. If the place is closed and safe for your dog, you can release it. If the place is open (streets, parks, etc.) your dog must be on the leash.
- Be still and wait. Your dog will sniff the ground, look at everything that catches his eye, explore the place, and do whatever he pleases. At some point, however, he will look at you. At that precise moment, click and give him a piece of food.
- Then take a short walk to allow your dog to explore the environment (this will also act as a reinforcer). Wait for him to get distracted again and repeat the procedure.
- If your dog is loose indoors, you can use the clicker to click. If your dog is on the leash, you may find it easier to click with your tongue or use the release command.
Note that the timing (the exact moment we click) is extremely important for this exercise. Perhaps it is more important than for the other exercises, because the first few times your dog will only look at you for a moment, and perhaps it is only an accidental glance when exploring the environment. So be sure to use the correct conditioned reinforcer to get good timing. If you need a clicker for this, find a way to do the first sessions indoors. Or, if your release order seems too long, try a tongue click.
Practice this exercise twice daily in short sessions and don't worry about the number of repetitions you do. What matters is that your dog begins to realize that looking at you from time to time has good consequences. Therefore, you can do very short sessions, with three repetitions or a little more. Of course, if you can do 10 reps sessions, do them.
Since you carry out this exercise with distractions, you can take advantage of your dog's walks. Every time you take him out for a walk, stop a few times en route and wait for your dog to look at you. Then click, give him a piece of food and continue walking. Also take advantage of clicking and giving your dog a piece of food every time he looks at you when they are walking..
Possible problems teaching your dog to pay attention
If a long time passes without your dog looking at you spontaneously, check out distractions that exist in the place. Perhaps they are very intense and you need a place with milder distractions. You can also move a couple of steps to the side. Many dogs pay attention when that happens..
Make sure you don't confront your dog with things or situations that scare him. In that case, they won't pay attention to you, instead all they want to do is escape. In order for your dog to stop being scared of something, you must desensitize and counter-condition it to that, but that is a different topic and is not part of the exercise of paying attention.
It is very important that you practice this exercise in different places, but not inside your house. Few dogs are more annoying than those that follow you and stare at you inside the house all the time. Practice in the garden, on the street, in the elevator hall and anywhere you can think of, but not inside your home.
Precautions when teaching your dog to pay attention
Avoid risky places that scare your dog. Also avoid distractions that overstimulate your puppy, or he will not be able to pay attention to you. If you are practicing in the street with your dog on a leash, pay attention to his body language and anticipate any tugging on the leash. It is dangerous for a medium or large dog to run away when on the leash, because it can cause severe injury with the pull, or cause you to fall.