How to Win Your Dog’s Attention When Training

By August 11, 2018Dog Training

Dog training seems to be one of those mysterious skills that only professionals are good at. And owners can sometimes feel like they’re fighting a losing battle when it comes to keeping their dog’s attention.

Here are some tips to help you have more success when training your dog.

Hyperactive Dogs

Many small breeds, like the Jack Russell Terrier, are high-energy and require lots of daily exercise.

During a training session, your dog may display some frustration behaviors if they are under exercised such as:

  • Jumping on you
  • Running in circles
  • Asking to go for a walk
  • Barking
  • Getting a toy
Run with your dog

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If you come home to destroyed household items, this is another sign that your dog needs more physical activity. The best way to get a high-energy dog to calm down and pay attention during training is to exercise them first.

Some great exercises that work great for activity and bonding include:

  • Nature walks/hikes
  • Running or playing catch at the beach
  • Playing at the dog park
  • Jogging with your dog
  • Skating or biking while your dog runs on a leash

Getting at least 20-30 minutes of exercise prior to attempting training will help decrease frustration levels in your dog (and for you during training!). The AKC recommends training high-energy dogs on “impulse-control exercises” (where they practice self-control). This is because impulse-control is a natural challenge for these dogs that can be overcome with exercise first, then training.

Toy/Play Motivation or Treats

Happy Dog Training

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Most dogs respond to food or treats as motivation to comply with obedience or police K9 training. Experts suggest using clicking devices, small treats, or even a favorite food to entice your hyperactive dog to pay attention.

Boiled chicken or cheese are both popular choices, but check with your vet to see which foods are OK to give as treats.

For dogs who are not interested in food-based motivation, try giving affection or playing with your dog as a reward. Many dogs prefer interaction rather than food as an “atta boy”. AKC trainers suggest that owners use tug toys or activities that satisfy your dog’s natural chasing instinct.

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