Help- My dog doesn't pay attention to me! Teaching Focus
A dog that won’t pay attention to you is pretty much impossible to train and may be unpleasant to live with. The thing is, dogs don’t come out of the box knowing that they should pay attention to you. Or how to do it when you ask. You have to teach them that skill. It’s simply the most important skill for every dog to learn. If your dog knows how to sit but doesn’t focus on you, you’ll only have a dog that sits whenever they feel like paying attention. That’s not entirely helpful.
I like to use my dog’s name when teaching the Focus cue, which comes in handy for my multiple dog home. I don’t necessarily need all of my dogs to listen to the next cue. Maybe I just want Annika to come to me and Natasha to keep doing whatever she’s doing.
Once your dog reliably focuses on you, training them to walk nicely on a leash, calmly relax and stay in a place, leave stuff that isn’t theirs alone, and come to you when called is super easy. And that’s all any dog needs to learn in order to be a fabulous family pet.
Thankfully, the Focus cue is very simple and easy to teach. To train your dog to Focus on you, you will need a treat pouch, treats, and a clicker (optional).