How I Gain The Attention of ANY Dog In 5 Minutes Or Less
Whenever I am out with my dogs, there is always at least one person who comments “Wow your dogs listen to you so well,” or “How do you get your dogs to be so focused on you?”
Obviously, a compliment about my dogs is always nice.
However, what actually goes through my mind every time someone asks me a question like this is it shouldn’t be out of the ordinary for dogs to be attentive and obedient to their owner!
So many people say: “My dog is just way too hyper and distracted to listen to me like that.” Statements like this are SO incredibly false and simply an excuse for an owner who’s given up working with their dog.
Every single dog has the potential to be attentive and obedient to his or her owner—no matter the dog’s breed, age, OR background.
So the question remains, why are there so many dogs that are NOT attentive and obedient to their owners?
The answer is simple: most dog owners have not spent enough time working with their dogs on training them to be attentive and obedient.
It’s sad that this is the case, but this is one of the main reasons that I became a dog trainer!
One of my main goals as a dog trainer and behaviorist has been to educate owners across the world about how SIMPLE training a dog really is. Dog owners tend to overestimate the difficulty of training a dog; when in reality, training a dog is actually quite simple.
There is no magic trick to turning your dog into an attentive and obedient one.
In fact, getting your dog’s attention on you is one of the simplest steps to raising a well-behaved dog.
Every single time I train a dog, no matter if I am training a puppy on basic obedience, or working through aggression with a 5 year old dog, teaching the dog to be attentive and obedient to me is the very first thing I start with.
How can you expect a dog to be well-behaved and well-trained if he or she has no desire to be attentive and obedient to you? You can’t!
So how do I get a dog's attention in 5 minutes or less?
The unbelievably simple key to gaining your dog’s attention is to REWARD your dog for focusing on or being attentive to you.
This makes your dog want to be attentive to you, not forced! Positive reinforcement is all about rewarding your dog for exhibiting behaviors you want him or her to repeat.
When your dog is focusing on you, give him or her a reward. Treats are typically the best reward for dogs.
Don’t be afraid to use treats, treats, and more treats when working on positive reinforcement training with your pup! When your dog is looking at you and focusing on you, he gets a reward.
This is how I gain the attention and focus of any dog within 5 minutes of meeting them.
I start by saying the dog’s name, and when he looks at me, I give him a treat. ANY time the dog is focused on me, I give him a treat.
Whenever I say the dog’s name and he looks at me, I give him a treat. Within 5 minutes (usually it only takes about 2) the dog is typically sitting in front of me, eyes locked on me.
A few days ago, I had my first training session with two 7-month-old Husky puppies.
Prior to meeting these dogs, I gathered a lot of information about them from their owner. Their owner told me he was on the verge of giving these puppies away because they don’t listen, get into everything, and are the most difficult dogs he has ever met.
I went into this training session knowing that I would be able to help this owner, but thought that I would probably be getting two very naughty little trouble-makers that would even give me a challenge.
When I arrived, the pups were jumping up on me right away.
However, it only took about ONE MINUTE for one of the pups to begin sitting in front me with his full attention on me; and about 2 minutes for the other one to do the same.
I had the complete focus of both of these “difficult dogs who don’t listen” for the rest of the training session.
The owner was astounded and kept saying, “I have never seen them act so well-behaved. You must really have a way with getting dogs to listen to you.”
I told him that it is not magic, and I am giving him the tools to have this “way” with dogs TOO!
He asked me, “So what exactly are the tools you use to get a dog to listen to you?”
What did I tell him?
The same exact thing I’m telling you right now!
First of all, find a reward that your dog LOVES. If your dog doesn’t seem thrilled about the treats you are using, find different treats or a different reward that he GOES CRAZY FOR.
I usually bring about six different kinds of treats to every training session I go to, just in case the dog is picky. If your dog is obsessed with his ball, then use the ball as a reward. If it a certain toy, then use that.
Whatever the object of your dog’s desire may be, it is very important to find a reward that your dog loves loves loves, especially if your dog is easily distracted.
What should you do when trying to get the attention of a distracted dog?
The key to getting your dog’s focus when he is distracted is having a reward that is BETTER than the object of his distraction.
Although your dog is distracted by that other dog across the street, you need to teach him that what you have is better than that dog, and anything for that matter!
Since you have that reward he loves, your dog will associate focusing on you with that reward, and thus, will want to always focus on you when you say your dog’s name.
Once your dog is very attentive and obedient to you with that reward, you can gradually wean off the treats.
And then, you’ll have a dog that not only is attentive to your commands, but also want to come to you for your love and affection.
And that, my friend, is what dog ownership is all about.