2001-Tue Oct 16 13:10:51 EDT 2018
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Is your dog easily distracted? Does he spend your entire walk lunging at squirrels and barking at people? Is he unable to to pass a brightly colored umbrella or a playing child without wanting to investigate?
If your dog’s curiosity is slowing down your walks, there’s a solution. Training your dog to “look” on command can help keep him focused on where he’s going without missing any of the excitement that’s happening around him.
Training your dog to look in the direction of something novel, interesting or possibly even slightly unnerving may sound nonsensical. Why draw your dog’s attention to something that may excite or even upset him? When you teach your dog to “look,” you also train him to return his attention to you. This can help to make novel situations more predictable and give your dog a way to focus and avoid overreacting to something that might be scary or stressful — or just super exciting — for him.
Hold an object your dog will be interested in — like a chew toy or a ball — behind your back, where your dog cannot see it. A toy with a squeaker or rattle can be helpful for catching your dog’s attention. You can also wiggle or wave the toy gently to catch his eye.
Ask your dog to look at you; once he is making eye contact, pull the hidden item out and hold it out to your side, away from where your dog is looking. Immediately mark and reward any glance or movement your dog makes in the direction of the object.
When you reward him, give the treat in such a way that your dog has to turn back toward you (and away from the exciting toy) to get his reward. To do this, hold the treat directly in front of your legs, at the level of the dog’s nose. This helps to reinforce the idea of looking at something and then shifting attention back to you, which is exactly what you’re trying to teach him.
Next, add a verbal cue —“look” — to the behavior. Say the word just as your dog starts to turn his head in the direction of the item. You can also watch your dog’s body language and note when he’s getting ready to turn toward the object. Eventually, you want to be able to use the “look” cue to point out interesting things before your dog sees them for himself.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.