There is a lot to be learned about dogs.
One thing that laymen do not understand is that even for the simplest commands, you have to invest a lot of time and effort. Things that may seem simple and natural, such as calling the dog’s name, required a lot of invested time.
Getting and retaining dog’s attention is one of these things.
Have in mind that dogs have a mind of their own which is rather simplistic. It usually comes down to eating, sleeping and playing. Listening to you isn’t one of their priorities and it is one of the tricks they require a lot of time to learn and adapt. In this short article, I will explain why the dog’s attention is so important, how to get it and most importantly, how to retain it.
Let’s dig in!
Why Is It So Important?
Any type of a command is usually performed with voice. This means that over the course of time, the dog needs to learn various words that will correspond with certain actions.
But in order to do so, he needs to go through a whole training. Being that attention is crucial for training process, you can easily see how these two are interconnected.
However, being attentive can also be important in some other situations regardless of the training process. The dog always has to have some discipline when around you so you can communicate (to an extent).
Attention Training Basics
Like any other type of training, it is best if you perform this one when the dog is really young.
Given that attention training is important for any other form of training, it is best to do it first. If you go another way around you may encounter a lot of problems later on.
You can say that attention training sets up the basis for discipline and communication; it sharpens a dog’s focus and helps with learning as the dog will always be concentrated on your vocal or hand commands when you ask him to.
Ideally, you need to do it at a very young age; when the dog is still a puppy. Adult pets are harder to mold and may find it hard to understand the concept.
Paying attention to something needs to come as a habitual process; the dog shouldn’t even be aware of it.
So how do you get to this step? By doing the following process.
There are two parts of attention training: grabbing attention and retaining attention.
The first part is much easier. You need to use a particular command for calling out the dog. Ideally, you should use dog’s name. This will be a universal command that will in future always be used when you need to tell him something. Whenever the dog understand that this is his name or not doesn’t matter as long as he reacts to it.
Sit in a room with the dog. Make sure to remove all the distractions such as toys.
Start calling his name over and over again.
When the dog finally looks at you, give him a treat. This can be followed up with short petting. Even if you do not have treats, you should at least pet the dog. It is necessary, as this creates a positive feeling in an animal.
Now, you can start communicating with the dog. You can be goofy, wave your arms, or do anything else that may seem interesting. Your task now is for the dog to look at you for as long as possible.
Eventually, the dog will stop paying attention. This is when you need to go back to your bag of tricks, call him by his name and give him a treat.
It is necessary to develop an instinct in the dog that he needs to respond to you. This is something that will take time but will eventually happen. Sooner than later you will stop with treats and petting but the instinct will remain. After that, it is really easy to start teaching the dog new commands.
Start doing attention training from the onset. It is necessary for this particular training to be done properly. It is the basis for communication but also for having a disciplined, well-behaving pet.