Rainy Day?Get Started Now!

Attention is the foundation of training. If your dog can stop everything and look at you when you say her name, you have the beginnings of a solid training relationship, and you can start solving any problem. So practice:

  • Get a supply of small soft treats.
  • Find a quiet place with no distractions.
  • Say your dog's name with lots of excitement.
  • When he/she looks at you, say, "YES!" and give a treat.
  • Repeat until you have ten successes in a row.
  • Then go to a new location and start over.
  • Keep increasing distractions to make it more difficult.
  • Take baby steps!
  • Don't try this at the park if it doesn't work in the backyard.

Uses:

  • Leash pulling: Ask for attention, instead of pulling.
  • Can't concentrate? Ask for attention, first.
  • Don't jump on grandma.
  • Don't chase that squirrel (with practice).
  • Stop barking (It might work!)
  • Stay out of trouble.
  • In general, ask for your dog's attention rather than saying, no.
  • This helps teach your dog what to do instead of getting into trouble.

Longer attention for more control:

  • Start over in the easiest location.
  • Say your dog's name the same way.
  • When he/she looks at you, wait a nanosecond... Then say, "YES!" and give a treat.
  • Each time wait just a little longer before saying, "YES!"
  • If your dog can't wait for the treat, go back to shorter pauses.
  • Get ten successes before you add another nanosecond.
  • When you move to a new location, start over at one nanosecond.
  • Be patient! Increase the difficulty slowly!
  • Your goal is to make it so easy that your dog is always successful.

Ignore the treat:

  • Get a treat in each hand.
  • Hold your hands out to each side of your face, palms up.
  • Wait... ... ... When he/she looks at your face, say, "YES!" and give a treat.
  • This teaches the dog to focus on you rather than the treats.
  • Move to new locations, etc.

Charge a clicker:

  • The reason to say, "YES!" is to mark the instant of success.
  • Timing is very important for teaching new ideas
  • An even better method is to use a clicker
  • They're available at Love on a Leash and most pet supply stores
  • To charge it up, just click and give a treat.
  • Do that several times in a row.
  • Then start using it instead of "YES!" in the attention exercises above.

Here are three of our favorite clicker training web sites:

Choosing treats:

  • Small treats are better; you can give more.
  • Soft treats allow you to work faster.
  • Pay attention to ingredients; many contain lots of sugar and salt.
  • Your first class will be the most difficult distraction ever.
  • Better treats = better attention.
  • You might use Cheerios or kibble at home, with success. But cubed beef, chicken or cheese will work better in class.

3 shepherds reclining
The real bosses at Love on a Leash: Tego,
Rohan and Deva