One of the main questions I get asked is “how do I stop my dog from pulling? ” or “My dog won’t listen on a walk” and if you have a dog with any working dog in their genes you may also feel the pressure of walks just not being so enjoyable as you’d hoped.
The answers to these questions and for YOUR dog simply can’t be covered in 1 blog, I know, sorry to burst that bubble, but it takes a lot of groundwork and investment into developing some FUNdamental skills and one of the starting points will always be getting your dog to focus on you more.
The art of focus, I tend to separate into 3 areas for my teams on what we are wanting :
1. Response – When we ask if our pups can focus on us, we all may have different ways to ask for this, as long as we get what we asked for it’s a win.. I have a few different questions.
2. Auto check-ins – For me these are more powerful because our pups are choosing to engage, making a choice means problem-solving is happening and for a SAVVY problem solver, we love and encourage anything we see that we know has taken the pup some problem solving to get there.
3. Eagerness – When we Play together I want to see the pup really engaged with me. If you haven’t already seen my posts on Play, check them out HERE
To get any of the above more reliable in real life we need to make sure the question you ask is understood in different situations (learn more here about questions!), to do that we need to invest in some key areas.
With any skill I’m working on, I will develop it at this rate, which will change time-wise from dog to dog due to breed characteristics, genetics and learned behaviours up to the point I’ve started investing in the skill.
šŸ¾ Reinforcement History
šŸ¾ Reliable Skill
šŸ¾ Real Life Ready Skills
Enjoy having fun when helping your dog learn how to focus and engae with you, there are so many things we do in the day that our pup engages with us, so make the most of it and start building that reinforcement history, this can come from your feedback with something that makes your pup feel good, each pup will have their own level of what makes them feel good, so make sure you are working on understanding what exactly that is, as this will help you as you learn to invest in what makes your pup see FOCUS as FUN!!