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Does Your Puppy Have Focus?

Oct 30, 2007
Focus is the single most important command to teach your puppy. If your dog is looking away from you, he is listening to what he is looking at. Distractions are a large part of life, and you need to teach your dog to ignore them and pay attention to you.

You cannot achieve focus simply by your puppy's name. On a daily basis, you will use his name for many different purposes. Worse yet, you will probably yell his name at him when he is doing something wrong.

The term you will use to teach your dog focus will be a consistently positively reinforced term. He will first learn to look at you on command no matter what is going on around him. Next, he will come to you when you call instead of running away off to who knows where. Here are the beginning steps necessary to teach attention.

1. Begin training your dog when he has not had any personal contact with you for several hours. Mornings are great because you generally have had no contact with him overnight. A dog that has had minimal contact is more likely to want to give you his attention when the opportunity presents itself. Walk your dog before starting the session. Do not play with him or talk too much, just put him on a lead and walk him for elimination purposes. Afterward, take your dog back into the house so you may begin his training. Keep a leash on him so that you can retain an element of control.

2. Use food as a reward. It is very important that you know what types of edible reinforcers will work on your dog. A hungry dog will be motivated by food, whereas a well-fed dog may show disinterest. Do not feed your dog his meal before training.

3. You will be teaching him to look at your face on command and a good reason for him to look at your face could be that there is great food falling out of your mouth. You could spit out little bits of treats at your dog, whatever food works for him. If you have a small-breed dog or young puppy, you may get on your knees and show your dog a cracker hanging out of your mouth. When he notices the food, you can let him take a little bit from your mouth. The dog must be able to take this small amount of food gently, to prevent any accidental bites. If your dog is too rough in taking this treat, you may hold the treat in your hand, near your mouth, and give him small amounts as he looks at your face while giving the command. You must eventually be standing erect with your dog looking attentively at your face.

4. Typical commands such as "ready," "look," or "focus" can be used, just be sure to be consistent with your terms. Your dog's name should be used prior to giving the focus command. Making a little clicking sound from your mouth after your command will help to teach your dog to look at you.

Practice this constantly and reward your dog for it. Demand longer periods of focus, as well as focus with distractions. Increase the distraction level while demanding short focus duration. After you have achieved focus at high levels of distraction, such as someone calling your dog, you can move along increasing focus time. When commanded to look at your face, your dog must offer continued focus to you until released or commanded to the next task.
About the Author
Jane Saeman loves dogs and strives to keep other dog lovers informed.
A whole world awaits other dog lovers.
Find out how cute the dog in your life is at my website which is at http://www.PicturesOfMyDogs.com
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