Most of us (if not all) have seen dogs chasing squirrels and their owners running behind, calling their names, trying to stop them, but in vain.
Having a pet dog is inarguably one of the best life decisions. But, it can turn into a liability if your dog doesn’t pay attention to you. Not only it creates nuisance, but can also pose safety risks to both your dog and others. Getting your dog’s attention is the very first step to obedience training. Here are a few simple, but useful tips on how you can train your dog to listen to you:
· Teach Your Dog to Look at You
Teaching dogs a short and simple cue that they can easily understand is one of the most basic and easy ways to get their attention. You can use commands like ‘Look’, ‘Watch Me’, or ‘Look at Me’.
Wondering how you can train your dog to follow this verbal cue?
Lure-and- reward training is your best bet!
Begin with holding a treat in front of the dog’s nose (so he can smell it) and then gradually bring it upwards, to your face level. At this point, the dog will be staring both the treat (which obviously would be his main focus) and your face. Use a clicker and approving or praising words to mark the behavior and then treat your dog.
Repeat the whole process, first holding the treat in the other hand and then without treat (still treat the dog upon displaying the desired behavior). Once your dog gets accustomed to following the hand signal, start using the verbal cue before moving your hand. Gradually, start adding distractions to ensure your pet would listen to you in all circumstances.
· Teach Your Dog a Recall Cue
Your dog’s name paired with the ‘Come’ command makes the simplest recall cue. However, many people also use a whistle or any other particular sound as a recall cue.
Training your dog to respond to a recall cue will come in handy in situations where the dog is at a distance.
Use the same lure-and-reward training to teach and inculcate this behavior in your pet dog.
· Use Hand Targeting Exercise
Hold your hand in front of the dog’s nose, with your palm facing the dog’s face. Do not use any verbal or physical cue. Just wait for your dog to touch your palm on his own. Once the dog displays the desired behavior, praise him to help your pet develop the association.
This technique will help you get your dog distracted from environmental stressors and focus on you.
The Sum Up
These are some simple ways you can train your dog to turn their attention towards you whenever you use a specific cue or gesture. As with all other forms of dog behavioral trainings, these also require numerous repetitions to help your dog fully master them.
Remember, you can always take help from a professional dog trainer if you don’t have enough time or patience required for this or your dog is stubborn and just doesn’t listen to you, no matter what you do.