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Pay Attention

It is essential for every puppy to LEARN HIS NAME. When your puppy learns to turn his attention to you when he hears his name, it can HELP WITH ANY BEHAVIOUR YOU ARE TEACHING HIM. Having his attention makes training easier.

To train him to pay attention to you whenever he hears you call his name, take a wonderfulsmelling treat and let him sniff it. Once he smells that wonderful treat, say his name. At the same time, bring the treat up between your eyes. When he looks you in the eyes (where you have the treat), mark the behaviour with a “yes” or a click from your clicker and give him that great treat. If you lose his attention, you may have moved your hand too quickly from his nose to your eyes or the treat you are using to lure him has no value to him. Find a treat he really enjoys when training this behaviour. Try again, only this time move slower. Again, the second he looks at the treat between your eyes, mark and reward him with the treat in your hand.

Practice a number of times a day until he becomes accustomed to looking you in the eyes every time he hears his name and follows the treat up to your eyes. Once he is consistently looking you in the eyes every time you show him the treat, it is time to begin losing the lure (the exposed treat in your hand). Try the same exercise without the treat in your hand but using the same hand motion.

This time when he looks up at you, mark and reward him with a jackpot (many small treats given one at a time). Repeat this step several times a day over the next few days. When he looks at you every time you call his name using the hand gestures, it is time to move to the next step.

Now, with your hands at your sides, call his name. The second he turns to look at you, quickly mark the behaviour and reward him with a jackpot of treats. Continue working on this behaviour over the next few days. Once he is consistently looking you in the eyes every time you call his name, it is time to make it a bit more challenging for him. While your puppy is lying on the floor playing with a toy, call his name. When he stops playing with the toy to look at you, mark and reward him with a jackpot of treats. Repeat this only a few times a day over the next few days.

Once he is consistently willing to take his attention off his toy to look at you, it is time to add other distractions, but just once in a while. These other distractions could include calling his name while people are playing with him, while he is playing with other animals, or even while he is eating his meals. Training your puppy to take his attention off anything he is doing to pay attention to you is a wonderful skill and something for you to be very proud of. When you have his attention every time you call his name, training new behaviours will be easier.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

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