Training Attention and Off

Are your training expectations realistic?  You must concentrate on teaching your pet what behaviors are acceptable.  This will allow you to spend more time strengthen your relationship with your dog and less time being frustrated with unacceptable behaviors that are difficult to control.  Lets look at a few things that you should be doing in all of your training sessions.

Make sure that you are using food and praise together in your training. Eventually we will fade the food away and have the dog just work for praise.  Integrating praise words in your training is a must for success.  Having a release word such as “okay” or “your free” or whatever may be is a great communicator with the dog.  It lets the dog know when they are done.

Attention is a key factor in any training.  If you don’t have it, nothing is being learned except how to ignore you.  Teach your dog name recognition.  When you say your dogs name it means they must look at you. Try to practice your name recognition exercise while walking past other dogs, people, etc. Remember, you need your dog to make eye contact with you before requesting an activity from him. If your dog is not looking at you when you ask him to do something, the likelihood that he will do as you ask decreases. Remember you must always set your dog up for success.  They are counting on you to give them the proper guidance. If you have to say your dog’s name more than once in order to get him to focus on you, the situation you are currently training is too challenging for him.  Remove the distractions and go at a slower pace.

I like training the “off” behavior.   Basically this translates for the dogs that I want you to “back off someone or something.” I teach “off” in three levels.  The first level I start by first asking the dog to sit.  Then I stand really close to him, leaving less than a foot between us.  I hold a treat to his mouth and ask him to “off”.  The dog ususally will put his mouth right on your hand, but after a few seconds will return his head to a normal position.  Reward him as soon as he moves his head away from the treat.  Work on this a few times.  Next when the dog is in the standing position put yourself in front of him again, under a foot away, with a treat in front of his mouth.  This time take a step toward your dog, so he will have to step backward.  If he doesn’t you can usually shuffle your feet into him, a little at a time, and then he will go back.  As soon as he backs off, walk toward him and make a huge deal of how wonderful he did with treats and repeating the word “off”. Remember to praise when your pup offers the correct behavior of backing up away from the desired item or situation.

If you need help training attention or off to your dog just contact Kim Paciotti at 704-877-7821 or by email at Visit our website at or on our Facebook page

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