Teaching a Dog to Focus to Help Her Stop Being Reactive

By: David Codr

Published Date: September 17, 2019

For this Bellevue dog training session we teach 3 year-old American Bulldog mix Kaiya to focus and share other tips to get her to listen to her humans.

Training a dog to focus is a great way to redirect their attention away from things they are reactive to. The key to the focus exercise’s success is redirecting them before they start reacting, we call this above-threshold and its a dog version of being hysterical. You won’t teach a dog anything while its above threshold. I spent some time explaining how to add distance and ways to use this focus command to stop a dog from acting aggressive to other dogs.

I wanted to help stop Kaiya’s attacking of the vacuum cleaner, but the technique I use includes a clicker. Normally this is not a problem but in Kaiya’s case, there was a negative response to the clicker sound; ducking her head, cowering and moving away.

Id like the guardians to work on removing this negative associations by priming the clicker as shown in this training video. Ideally, id like them to toss 10 or so treats once a day in a different location each time. They may need to muffle the sound by having the clicker further away or under a piece of clothing. But eventually they need to be able to click it right next to Kayia without any cowering. Once that is the case, I can show them how to train the dog to stop attacking the vacuum, lawn mower and leaf blower.

To help the guardians remember all the dog behavior tips we covered in this in home Bellevue dog training session, we recorded a roadmap to success video.

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This post was written by: David Codr

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