Dog Training Tip – Getting Your Dog’s Attention

Posted on January 30th, 2020 by FetchMasters in Uncategorized

When training your dog, there are some cool tricks you can use to really latch onto your dog’s attention, both indoors and out. Since a lot of prospective clients claim their dogs are oblivious to them, I thought I’d offer up this cool tip to help them out.

With positive dog training, your relationship with your dog is of paramount importance. If your dog doesn’t see you as relevant, you cannot really blame him for ignoring you. But, how do you become relevant to your dog?

The overarching principle to developing relevance (and thus a responsive relationship) with your dog is for you to be the door through which good things come. By good things, I mean: 1) the things your dog likes; 2) the things your dog wants; and 3) the things your dog needs. So, sit down and write a list of things that fall into each of those categories: likes, wants and needs.

Now, you may have noticed your dog responds to certain words, such as “potty,” “treat,” “walk,” etc. I suggest bringing all of those things under one giant umbrella; it is helpful to have a single word or phrase that gets your dog’s attention in any context.

My favorite phrase is “Do you want to …?” I say it slow, and I pair it with anything I know my dog likes, wants or needs. When I say it, it sounds a bit like: “Doyouwanna …” The funny thing is, when I say that, all of my dogs come running to see what is about to come next!

So, here are some of the things I say inside and outside when I want to get my dogs’ attention:

  • Do-you-wanna …. (brief pause) … eat?
  • Do-you-wanna … (brief pause) … fetch?
  • Do-you-wanna … (brief pause) … go for a walk?
  • Do-you-wanna … (brief pause) … tug?
  • Do-you-wanna … (brief pause) … go goodnight?

So, you may be wondering why I put “(brief pause)” between the phrase and the things my dog likes, wants or needs. The answer is two-fold.

First, dogs are gamblers. They can’t wait to see if what happens next will pay off for them. This is also why surprising a dog with various rewards (not just treats) during training tends to create greater responsiveness. Once the term “Do-you-wanna …” is paired with a lot of different resources (likes, wants, needs), your dog will get stoked when he hears “Do-you-wanna …” and run up to you to see what the surprise is going to be.

Another cool thing about this technique is that it creates a line of binary communication with your dog in which your dog can actually tell you what it does and does not want. For example, if I ask my dog, “Do you wanna … (brief pause, during which I have my dog’s complete attention) … go potty?” my dog will respond in one of two ways.

If my dog actually does have the urge to go potty, it will display antics that let me know that is the case. If it does not need to go potty, it will usually just walk away … or sometimes keep staring at me waiting for me to say something more exciting.

Hope this helps. To learn more about our dog training services in the Denver area, feel free to check out our main FetchMasters Dog Training Website.

If you are outside of our service area, we would love to help you via our Distance Coaching Program.