Keeping the attention of a dog while training is not always an easy task. Dogs are very easily distracted, and it is important to not allow the dog training sessions to be sabotaged by boredom. Making dog training fun for the dog and the human alike is vital to creating a happy, well-adjusted and well-trained dog.
Providing random positive stimuli throughout the day is a great way to keep the interest of your dog. Doing things the dog enjoys, like walking in the park, riding in the car, and playing with other dogs, are great ways to keep the dog’s attention, but you must reward him for small successes.
For instance, in order to reward the dog for coming to you when you call him, ask the dog to come to you, without giving any clues about going for a walk, a car ride, or other treats.
After the dog has come over to you and obediently sat down, attach the leash and begin the treat. This can be either the before-mentioned stroll in the park, ride in the car, or anything else the dog likes to do.
Giving some kind of reward, whether a treat, a special outing, or just a tickle behind the ears, every time the dog does something you want him to, is a great way to maintain your dog’s motivation while you are dog training.
If the dog knows something good is going to occur every time he obeys your commands, he will be more motivated to do want you tell him every time.
When training a dog, it is important to not let distractions ruin the training. The dog must be taught to ignore distractions, such as other people, other dogs, other animals and loud noises, and focus on what is being taught These types of distractions can also be used as rewards when training the dog to come when called.
For instance, if your dog like romping with other dogs, whether it be in the park or with the neighbour’s dogs, let him play with those other dogs. Then go into the park or yard and call your dog.
When he comes to you, give him lots of praise, treats and other rewards, then immediately allow the dog to return to playing with his friends. Do this several times and praise the dog each time he comes over to you.
The dog will quickly learn that coming to your call results in good things (treats and praise) and not bad ones (being removed from the park).
This so-called distraction training is one of the hardest things for your dog to learn, because dogs are naturally social animals, and breaking away from the pack is one of the most difficult things you can ask your dog to do. Most dogs will be understandably unwilling to leave their canine companions, but it is important to persist in dog training.
Training the dog to come to you when you call may take some creativity on your behalf at first. For instance, waving one of his favourite toys, or a lure, is a good way to get your dog’s attention and put the focus back on you. If your dog has been clicker trained, a quick click can be a good motivator too in dog training.
Once your dog starts to become used to coming when called, you can start to reduce and then stop the visual cues and focus on making the dog respond to just your voice. It is vital that the dog responds to voice commands alone, as you will not always have a toy or lure to hand.
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