Here is a step-by-step process for focus training with your dog:
1. Choose a quiet environment: Find a calm and distraction-free space where you can work with your dog. This could be indoors or outdoors, as long as it’s a place where your dog feels comfortable and focused.
2. Get your dog’s attention: Start by using a treat or toy to get your dog’s attention. Hold it up near your face and say their name in an enthusiastic tone. When they make eye contact with you, reward them with praise and the treat or toy.
3. Practice “watch me” command: Teach your dog the “watch me” command by holding a treat close to your eyes and saying “watch me” in a clear and firm voice. When your dog looks at you, reward them and praise them. Repeat this exercise several times, gradually increasing the duration of eye contact before giving the reward.
4. Add distractions: Once your dog has mastered the “watch me” command in a quiet environment, gradually introduce distractions. Start with mild distractions, such as a low-level noise or a toy nearby. Practice the “watch me” command in the presence of distractions, rewarding your dog for maintaining focus on you.
5. Increase difficulty: As your dog becomes more proficient at focusing on you, increase the difficulty level. This can include introducing more challenging distractions, practicing in busier environments, or adding movement to the training sessions. Remember to reward your dog for their efforts and progress.
6. Generalize the skill: Once your dog has mastered focus training in controlled environments, it’s important to generalize the skill to different situations. Practice focus training during walks, at the park, or when encountering other dogs or people. Gradually increase the level of difficulty and distractions to ensure your dog can maintain focus in various real-life scenarios.
Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key when it comes to focus training with your dog. Make sure to keep training sessions short and enjoyable, and always end on a positive note. With time and practice, your dog will become more focused and attentive to your commands.
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