I think you’ll agree when I say;
Many dogs have SHORT attention spans.
While we can’t magically snap our fingers to increase our dogs’ attention span, you can still get more focus and attention from your dog with these dog training focus exercises, regardless of the distractions, so read on!
1. Create Intense Focus By Becoming Rewarding
One of the most straightforward dog training focus exercises you can do is become the reward in your dog’s eyes!
You are essentially becoming the ultimate source of reward for your dog.
That way, your dog chooses to pay attention to you instead of any distractions because you are more relevant than any distractions present!
Become more fun than the distraction!
2. Create Insane Focus With Interactive Fun Games
One of the easiest dog training focus exercises is playing fun interactive games with your dog around distractions!
The key here is the INTERACTIVE game, meaning that you must be an ACTIVE participant in the games you’ll be playing with your dog!
For instance, if your tug of war with your pup, be sure to be fully invested in playing the game by tugging hard, letting your dog win, and then running away!
Dogs are incredibly attuned to our emotional state, so if you’re not actively having fun when playing with your dog, your dog won’t either!
Make sure to make the game about interacting with you, not just the toy that way; your dog begins to understand the fun isn’t about “having” toys but instead interacting with you!
3. Learn To Use What Your Dogs Wants To Your Advantage
If you want to build up your dog’s focus quickly, the easiest route is to use what your dog wants to your advantage!
For instance, if your dog wants to go outside on a walk, before walking through the door, have your dog sit and look at you first before stepping out.
This teaches your dog to “eat his veggies before getting dessert” we can go outside; look at me first, and I’ll give you the say-so.
You can also apply the same concept to different contexts!
For instance, if your dog gets excited when they see people, instead of letting your dog immediately say “hi,” wait until your dog gives you their attention, then give your dog a word like “yes” to let him know he can now say hi.
Using what your dog wants to your advantage begins teaching your dog that giving you their attention gets them what they want.
4. Don’t Show Your Dog You Have Rewards
This might sound like the opposite of what you likely have heard in the past, but the reason why you never want to show your pup that you have a treat or toy in the first place.
When you get in the habit of waving a piece of treat in your dogs, face you may get them to listen to you, but only when you show them you have “something for them”
Instead of using the reward to get your dog to focus, teach your dog that they get rewarded if they focus on you!
Yes, read that again; it’s a slight difference with significant results!
Hide the treats in your pocket and have your hands empty; when your dog looks at you, say “yes” and immediately take out the treats and reward your dog!
This begins teaching your dog that even though it looks like you have empty hands and no rewards.
Paying attention to you whether or not they physically see a reward leads to the possibility of getting rewarded.
So essentially, you shift it from using the treats to get your dog to focus on you towards getting your dog to focus first for the possibility of a reward “magically appearing.
5. Make It Insanely Easy To Focus On You
If your dog is easily distracted, don’t make it hard for your dog to focus on you.
So don’t start trying to get your dog to focus in high distraction environments.
Instead, start in a distraction-free environment and gradually increase the distractions as your dog progresses.
The easiest way to think about it is, you want to “teach your dog to swim before letting him go in the deep end.”
Don’t overwhelm your dog and go at his pace!
6. Use Food To Your Advantage
If you want your dog to focus better, one of the best dog training focus exercises is using your dog’s favorite treats to your advantage!
Let me clarify that dogs have a “hierarchy of rewards,” meaning that dogs prefer their “favorite” treat or toy.
As your dog’s owner, you want to figure out your dog’s favorite treat.
Once you understand your dog’s favorite treat, you want to make that treat exclusively available under distracting circumstances.
Many times if your dog gets access to high-value rewards all the time, they begin to lose value; instead, reserve your dog’s high-value treats for high distracting environments!
Pretty soon, your dog will begin to understand that the only time he gets his favorite treat is in a given context. (after they give you their attention first, of course)
7. Use Distractions To Teach Your Dog To Focus
The only way to teach your dog to focus is to present him with the distractions they initially struggle with!
Instead of avoiding environments that your dog is distracted by, you want to bring your dog around those exact environments to teach your dog to focus on you!
If you avoid the areas your dog lacks focus, you’ll never help your dog focus in those specific contexts.
Easy dog training focus exercises are to bring your dog to a distracting environment and play with your dog for choosing to focus on you instead of the distractions!
The name of the game is to show your dog that paying attention to you is “worth it” and more fun!
8. Have Short Sessions For long Term Gains
Initially, we want our dog to have an excellent long attention span, but it doesn’t start that way.
When doing dog training focus exercises, you want to be short, fun, and sweet.
So when you go on a walk, have a short session where you say your dog’s name “fido” and reward your dog for focusing on you.
This should be no more than 2-5 mins!
Think about it we instead leave your dog wanting to pay attention to more to get rewarded than making it an hour session where they’re just staring at your face.
So remember, short, sweet, and fun to leave your dog thinking, “I can’t wait to do that again” vs. “not this again.”
9. Learn To Use Feeding Time To Build Focus
The easiest dog training focus exercises are done with your dog’s food!
If your dog is on a feeding schedule, they should be. If not, read this short article here
A short exercise is having your dog sit and look at you before allowing him to chow down his food from his bowl.
If your dog tries running to the bowl before you say “yes,” say “no,” pick up the bowl with their food in it and ask your dog to sit again.
When your dog sits, wait for them to look at you, then say “yes” to let them know they can get up and eat the food.
10. Have Fun And Stay Consistent!
Learn to make focusing on you fun for your dog. That way, it doesn’t become about the treats toys, but instead that your dog enjoys focusing on you because you’re Fun!
Consistency is critical, so make sure that you stay consistent with your routines and day-to-day activities so that your dog begins to understand your expectations and vice versa!
I hope that this post has helped you build your dog’s attention span and focus!
Now ill turn it over to you. Which dog training focus exercises will you try first?
Will you begin by playing with your dog?
Are you using your dog’s food?
Receive your free dog training consultation and set your pup up for success!