All training starts with getting your dog’s attention. Attention training teaches your dog to look at you, pay attention to you, and trains him to get into that habit. Good attention training will make your dog genuinely interested in what you want him to be doing, instead of all the wonderful smells and delightful elements of a distractingly fabulous world. It’s a great start to great teamwork, so pay attention to how to attention train, and teaching your dog anything else will be a breeze!
A treat pouch full of pea sized morsels of roasted and chopped meat or sausage. Try so keep treats fragrant, simple and healthy
A clicker: Clickers make teaching attention training a little easier. Easy is good, you want to always set the dog up for success.
A non distracting environment. An unoccupied room in your house like a bedroom, office, library, or if you live alone it’s probably easier.
Situate yourself in front of the dog. Get down to his level.
If your dog isn’t trained to associate the sound of a clicker with a food reward, then you need to do steps 1 to 4 first:
Click and simultaneously give a food reward. Start by using a small handful of food. Repeat six to 10 times. Every few times offer more that one treat.
Click wait a second (count to 1) before giving the food reward. Repeat five times
Click wait 3 seconds before giving a food reward. The idea is to develop distance between the click and the reward. So the click starts to mean a reward is coming.
Now wait tip the dog looks at you before you click and reward. Catch the behaviour right as the dog begins to turn his head towards you. The first time give him a bunch of treats. Praise. as you do so.
Don’t prompt! When your dog has this behaviour figured out, you can add his name, and as soon as he starts to look at you click and then reward. Once he is paying attention you can move on to start shaping some really cool tricks.
Start each training session with a few minutes of attention training. It’s like a warm up for athletes. Keep it light hearted and fun. If the dog screws up, or shuts down, he’s not getting it. Back the training up to his last successful action and repeat it a few times, acting thrilled that he gets it. Then start shaping the new behaviour in tiny increments. You want to keep it fun for him so he’ll love working with you better than anything else. To keep it fun for him, let him succeed and reward each success with your joy and some great treats . When he learns the behaviour, phase the treats out because his real reward will be working as a valuable member of a team.
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