Before you begin, you will need some high value treats or your dog’s favorite toy.
As with all new training it is always best to begin training in an area with no distractions. A room that is as far away as possible from other family activities would be best. Better yet, do the training at a time when the house is generally quiet. Or when you are home alone with the dog.
Using the Command Word and Rewarding
Put the dog in the SIT position in front of you. Say your command word: “focus” or “watch me” and when your dog looks you in the eye say “YES” or “Good Dog” and give the reward after a few seconds.
Using Motion to Get Focus
Some dogs may not respond immediately to hearing the “focus” or “watch me” command. If this happens to you, as you give the command, wave a treat (or toy), back a fourth directly in front of your dog’s nose. When the dog looks at it pull the treat or toy up to your chin. Your dog should follow the treat and end up looking at you. As this happens, say “YES” or “Good Dog” and give the reward after a few seconds.
Within a few minutes you should have your dog focusing on you.
Proofing The Focus Behavior
Dogs are easily distracted. Always being alert to what is happening in their environment is in their DNA. This makes it very important that you train this command in a variety of situations and environments.
As your dog gets better in a quiet room, you can move to working in more distracting surroundings such as a room where family activities are happening nearby. When your dog responds well to that, move to an area that has more activity, traffic and noise. And so on.
Remember: If your dog is having trouble focusing on you, even in a quiet setting, you may need to increase the value of the reward you are using. Example: Instead of using a milkbone treat, you may need to use a piece hotdog or a piece of ham.
There are several variations of this training that will also get good results. Contact A Better Dog4U if you have any questions or if you need any help with your training. We will be glad to set up a personal consultation in order to help you any way that we can.