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Getting our dog to pay attention to us is essential for good communication between them, 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.

In this Animal Expert article we will show you how to make my dog ​​pay attention to you Without using signals, making sure that the dog is aware of us on a regular basis, a very useful training that can prevent, for example, that your dog is lost. Find out how to get started below!

How to teach a dog to pay attention?

Unlike other basic canine obedience exercises, by teaching your dog to pay attention you will not train in a place free of distractions, but you will take advantage of the distractions everyday from the first day of training. Although the training of this exercise is done in formal sessions, you can do it taking advantage of your dog's walks and other situations of daily life.

In this case we will use the clicker To work with the dog, for that reason, if you want to use it too, we advise you to spend a few days before loading the dog clicker for training.

Follow this step by step to teach your dog to pay attention:

  1. Go with your dog to a place where there are some not very intense distractions. Your dog should be distracted, but not so much that he never looks 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 attached to the leash.
  2. Stay still and wait. Your dog will sniff the ground, look at everything that catches his eye, explore the place and do everything he pleases. At some point, however, he will look at you. At that precise moment, click and give him a little piece of food.
  3. Then walk a little to allow your dog to explore the environment (this will also act as a reinforcer). Wait until you get distracted again and repeat the procedure.
  4. If your dog is loose in a closed place, you can use the clicker to click. If your dog is attached to the leash, it may be easier for you to click with your tongue or use the release order.

Note that 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 an instant, and perhaps only an accidental look when exploring the environment. Therefore, be sure to use the correct conditioned enhancer to get a good timing. If you need a clicker for this, look for ways to do the first sessions in a closed place. Or, if your release order seems very long, try a click made with your tongue.

Practice this exercise twice daily in short sessions and do not 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 sessions of 10 repetitions, do them.

As you carry out this exercise with distractions, you can take advantage of your dog's walks. Every time you take it for a walk, stop a few times on the route and wait for your dog to look at you. Then click, give him a little piece of food and continue walking. Also take advantage of clicking and giving your dog a little piece of food every time he looks at you when they are walking.

Possible problems teaching your dog to pay attention

If it goes a long time without your dog looking at you spontaneously, check the 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 face your dog with things or situations that scare him. In that case, he won't pay attention to you, but all he wants to do is escape. In order for your dog to stop being scared of something, you must desensitize it and countercondition it, but that is a different issue 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 they stare at you all the time inside the house. Practice in the garden, on the street, in the elevator aisle and in any place 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 overestimate your puppy, or he may not pay attention to you. If you are practicing in the street with your dog attached to the leash, pay attention to your body language and anticipate any leash pull. It is dangerous for a medium or large dog to run when it is attached to the leash, because it can cause you severe damage with the pull, or make you fall.

If you want to read more articles similar to How to make my dog ​​pay attention to me?, we recommend that you enter our section of Basic Education.

5 tricks to get your attention

More important than capturing our pet's attention is not losing it. He explains it from Kirolcanin Alberto Fernández Lacasa, an expert in canine nutrition, behavior and training, who argues that "a puppy comes with a capacity for innate attention, is very dependent on us and is always aware of our indications. The problem is that we are losing that attention, because we don't act correctly"As he argues,"we forget any reward and the puppy is demotivated and begins to look for other forms of stimulation in its environment. In this way, our attention call is losing effectiveness. "

5 tricks to pay attention to:

  1. Take advantage of the innate attitude of paying attention to the puppy
  2. Reward the response to our calls until you establish some habits
  3. Capture your attention not only when it interests us
  4. During leisure, call and reward the dog successively to reduce its negative responses to a small percentage
  5. Find different rewards until you find the one that motivates you most, from a meal to a type of game

Therefore, it is crucial to be generous when giving prizes to our pet. "There will be time to gradually withdraw those rewards when habits are fully established." For Alberto, we make a frequent mistake: we call our dog only when we want to leave. In this way, they attribute our call to something negative, the time to leave, so that we would have to call him several times during the release time, reward him and release him again.

Alberto training some dogs / Alenergi

When it comes to educating our dog, "it is important that we demystify something deeply rooted: when you move your tail you don't have to indicate that you are happy. It means he is excited. That excitement may be caused by the joy of seeing each other, but not always moving the tail is happy. "

Steps to follow if your dog doesn't pay attention to you

Teaching orders to a pet is a matter of perseverance, patience, affection and, why not say, prizes and rewards for him. The latter is an important step if we want to attract your attention, although of course it is not the only one. Follow these steps and you will see that if your dog does not pay attention to you, it will begin to do so.

Choose a prize

The first thing you have to do is think about which prize your dog would like best. Some prefer one of those goodies that are special to them, while others prefer a sausage or some ham.

Some may even settle for some feed or canned food. No one better than you knows your pet. However, think that depending on how much you like the prize, the level of attention you pay will depend.

Have the prize in your hand with this closed and do not let the moment see. It will smell something and go to you and your hand. Good! You have already attracted their attention in a certain way.

Let him see the prize

Once he follows you everywhere and he knows that you hide something in your hand, Sit on the couch until your pet stands in front of you. Open your hand and let it smell the prize, but don't let him eat it.

Every time you make the attempt to ingest it, you must close your hand again. His curiosity is underway, as is his desire or his ‘anxiety’.

The first order

With the prize in hand you can start by teaching him the first order. The truth is that at this point who has the attention of your dog is the prize and not you. But this can change if you bring this to your cheek while you say to your dog: "Look at me!"

When you have managed to divert the view of the candy to your eyes, you should reward it. This will help the animal to relate the order with your voice and with a gift.

This will not be easy and it is very likely that you will not get it at first. You will have to repeat it several times until you achieve it. The more times you do it, the easier it will be for you to get your dog to pay attention to you.

And now that?

With the previous steps you will have already gained the attention and respect of your dog, then he will know that if he obeys you he will have a reward, while if he does not he will get nothing that benefits him. Why deny it, dogs love us with an unconditional love, but their love for food is greater, so that in many of their actions a visible interest arises.

However, The previous exercise will have made your dog look at you when you call him and listen to what you have to say. Now you can use the same method to teach him other commands such as sitting, lying down, kicking, going for something, bringing or releasing it.

You will also have more facility to answer your call in the street or the park, or stop barking or growling at someone approaching, be it a stranger or one of your friends.

To start training a dog, The essential thing is to start with the steps that we have given you, in order to heed the first call. Your voice should be firm but soft, you will not get anything with shouting, and that with love and positive reinforcement will always be more effective.

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