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Any tips on getting the dog to focus on you?

when we are inside the house, potato is constantly staring at me. I don't need to get her attention at all... this changes completely when we go out for walks. She will not look at me no matter what I do. She does listen however, her sits and stays are great. She'd sit an stay and will keep staying... meanwhile looking EVERYWHERE but up at me.

anyone know what the deal is? I want to be able to get her to focus on me where it counts: outside.
 

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You can start by working on the "watch me" command. This is the very first command my dogs learn. It's a good foundation for future commands because it teaches them to focus on you. to start, take a treat and put it near your face while telling her "watch me". When she makes eye contact, praise and treat. Practice this every day as much as you can. then you can add distractions to the routine, and eventually move outside with it and loose the treats. Good luck! :D
 

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Kasco said:
You can start by working on the "watch me" command. This is the very first command my dogs learn. It's a good foundation for future commands because it teaches them to focus on you. to start, take a treat and put it near your face while telling her "watch me". When she makes eye contact, praise and treat. Practice this every day as much as you can. then you can add distractions to the routine, and eventually move outside with it and loose the treats. Good luck! :D
I was going to say the same thing. We have been learning this in our OB class. We also call it look. It does work.

I also use "leave it" when they are going toward something they want outside and I don't want them to. This is working well too. You start by teachig them to leave a treat while it is in your hand.
 

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bonsonau.........great topic!!!!!!

You hit the nail in the head. How can one control his/her dog when outside. In essence, you are asking when the dog encounters a distraction.

I guarantee you that nearly 100% of the people here and almost every dog trainer, including myself, struggle with this issue EVERYDAY!

I say it is a great question because a dog can look great on a video doing all those great scenarios and tricks in its own backyard or training field. It means virtually nothing. That is why, to me, a video is just OK. it tells me alot, but it does not tell me what it would do in REAL life, like you asked. Dealing with distractions are key.


Distractions to me is anything the dog finds more interesting than you. Simple. Whether it is a piece of food on the floor, people running by, kids playing, dogs running around, or a decoy charging at your dog with a gun.

Bottom line is imprinting. I am a fanatic of imprinting. Now, some call it being a control freak. LOL. I wonder how controlled their dogs are. I can imagine. :wink:
What it basically boils down to is this. YOU HAVE TO BE MORE INTERESTING THAN ANYTHING. AND from puppyhood, teach it that YOU are a giant piece of wienner! LOL! YOU are something sooooooo good that you the dog is dying to be with you. How? Lets put a simple scenario. You tell it to come, without distraction. Now, do you have his GIANT AWESOME FANTASTIC reward ready? I carry wienner pieces, ball, or tug (which ever one my particular dog like better). You have to know what your dog likes better than anything on this planet! Otherwise, you are going to be a lousy trainer. From puppihood, if you rewarded your dog (without distraction) EVERY SINGLE TIME, do you not think your dog will run a 100 mph to you when you call? YES!!!!!!!

What I am talking about is CONSISTENCY, PERSEVERENCE, MENTAL TOUGHNESS, AND A LOT OF LOVE.

If you expect your dog to do something, YOU have to do something too. Like teach it. Sounds stupid, but that is what it is.

If you only give a half as# reward (like "good boy") and once in a while a weiner because you remembered your training, do you think your dog will be consistent?
BOTTOM LINE IS THIS. DO NOT EXPECT YOUR DOG TO BE CONSISTENT IF YOU ARE NOT CONSISTENT.

Now, some dogs are not prey driven. However, most dogs are food driven. So I do not feed my dog for a day if I know he is going to be lazy. Timing is key to training.

A dog is a creature of habit. Trust me.

One last thing. if you let your dogs play with other dogs when it is a puppy and YOU teach it that it is more fun than you.........why do you expect it to listen to you later when he grows up???????? Is it fair to the dog? This part baffles me. Remember what I said about imprinting? Well, replace what you should do with a wiener piece and sub it with a dog. Isn't that what you are doing? TEACHING your dog to be CRAZY to play with other dogs INSTEAD OF YOU? Why would you do that? Then get angry your dog does not listen. That is crazy.

Here is a last bit of tip for you. The more consistent you are, the less amount of compulsion you will have to use. In many instance, especially with pet dogs, withholding the reward is enough.

I can go on forever, but good subject.

there are so many methods, Bonson.

However, for me, what you do with your pup as it grows up, is the MOST important. yes, I am a control freak. :lol:
 

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Re: bonsonau.........great topic!!!!!!

peterC, thanks for the input... unfortunately, potato is 4 years old. I adopted her a year ago and I think she's finally settling down and going back to her old self. This is of course, a guess.

She's not prey driven, and when out, she's not at all food driven. (I've tried to give her hotdogs and she mouths them, then drops them on the ground to continue staring at the street)

I don't really let her play with other dogs actually... she has some aggression issues and at most she has another dog that she likes (my gf's parent's EB)
 

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Re: bonsonau.........great topic!!!!!!

PeterC said:
You hit the nail in the head. How can one control his/her dog when outside. In essence, you are asking when the dog encounters a distraction.

I guarantee you that nearly 100% of the people here and almost every dog trainer, including myself, struggle with this issue EVERYDAY!

I say it is a great question because a dog can look great on a video doing all those great scenarios and tricks in its own backyard or training field. It means virtually nothing. That is why, to me, a video is just OK. it tells me alot, but it does not tell me what it would do in REAL life, like you asked. Dealing with distractions are key.


Distractions to me is anything the dog finds more interesting than you. Simple. Whether it is a piece of food on the floor, people running by, kids playing, dogs running around, or a decoy charging at your dog with a gun.

Bottom line is imprinting. I am a fanatic of imprinting. Now, some call it being a control freak. LOL. I wonder how controlled their dogs are. I can imagine. :wink:
What it basically boils down to is this. YOU HAVE TO BE MORE INTERESTING THAN ANYTHING. AND from puppyhood, teach it that YOU are a giant piece of wienner! LOL! YOU are something sooooooo good that you the dog is dying to be with you. How? Lets put a simple scenario. You tell it to come, without distraction. Now, do you have his GIANT AWESOME FANTASTIC reward ready? I carry wienner pieces, ball, or tug (which ever one my particular dog like better). You have to know what your dog likes better than anything on this planet! Otherwise, you are going to be a lousy trainer. From puppihood, if you rewarded your dog (without distraction) EVERY SINGLE TIME, do you not think your dog will run a 100 mph to you when you call? YES!!!!!!!

What I am talking about is CONSISTENCY, PERSEVERENCE, MENTAL TOUGHNESS, AND A LOT OF LOVE.

If you expect your dog to do something, YOU have to do something too. Like teach it. Sounds stupid, but that is what it is.

If you only give a half as# reward (like "good boy") and once in a while a weiner because you remembered your training, do you think your dog will be consistent?
BOTTOM LINE IS THIS. DO NOT EXPECT YOUR DOG TO BE CONSISTENT IF YOU ARE NOT CONSISTENT.

Now, some dogs are not prey driven. However, most dogs are food driven. So I do not feed my dog for a day if I know he is going to be lazy. Timing is key to training.

A dog is a creature of habit. Trust me.

One last thing. if you let your dogs play with other dogs when it is a puppy and YOU teach it that it is more fun than you.........why do you expect it to listen to you later when he grows up???????? Is it fair to the dog? This part baffles me. Remember what I said about imprinting? Well, replace what you should do with a wiener piece and sub it with a dog. Isn't that what you are doing? TEACHING your dog to be CRAZY to play with other dogs INSTEAD OF YOU? Why would you do that? Then get angry your dog does not listen. That is crazy.

Here is a last bit of tip for you. The more consistent you are, the less amount of compulsion you will have to use. In many instance, especially with pet dogs, withholding the reward is enough.

I can go on forever, but good subject.

there are so many methods, Bonson.

However, for me, what you do with your pup as it grows up, is the MOST important. yes, I am a control freak. :lol:

THANK YOU!!!! This is just the information I needed.
Great thread and great answer.............THANKS!!!!!!
 

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Bonson.......

are you telling me your dog is not motivated by anything and now, you are telling me it is not distracted? Which is it?

Trust me. You don't feed the dog for a couple of days. it will be motivated to learn and be a model of attention.

YOU have to be motivating. YOU, not the dog. YOu have to change your mindset.

Find out what motivates your dog! If you don't know, your training will go nowhere.

best of luck to you.
 

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Our girl loves to run with me as I bike ride--talk about a dog transformed!! She loves running so much that she will ignore squirrels, rabbits, and other creatures running parallel to her. I wish I had a video of it. She also loves swimming, fetching, tug...as PeterC stated, all the things that make me the most fun thing in her life.

Even with all of those people and pups she comes back to the "Coolest doggie-dad at the park" :D
 
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