Training a dog requires time, patience, and effort. Some dogs take to training easily, while others need a little more attention. Some dogs have no problem obeying commands in the quiet of their homes but immediately get distracted on walks. Keeping your dog’s attention for your walk takes extra training, but is possible. Use these tips on how to keep your dog focused on walks:

Work on Distracting Your Dog While Training

It’s impossible to control an outside environment, but you have total control at home. Gradually introducing different distractions during your training time can help your dog learn to focus on you at all times. Once your dog has mastered a basic command like sit, try to add in some attention-grabbers that will make it harder for the dog to focus on you during training time. This can be anything from placing a favorite toy just outside your training area to playing music or a television show in the background. The more you can master training while your dog is distracted, the better your dog will be able to focus on walks.

Move Your Dog Away from the Distraction

If you are coming upon a distraction on a walk, like another dog or a group of kids, move your dog to the opposite side of it. When passing another person walking a dog on your right, for example, move your dog to your left. Sometimes the physical barrier you create with your body is enough to keep your dog from getting too distracted by whatever you encounter.

Teach Your Dog to Watch You

The “watch Me” method is a great way to remain the focus of your dog’s attention. Teach your dog to watch you while working on your regular training. Once you start to incorporate some distractions, remind your dog to watch you. Once you regain his or her attention, have them sit. Give a treat for both actions. After your dog understands the “watch me” command, use it only when he or she is too distracted to listen to the “sit” command. This helps your dog make the connection between the command and putting focus on you. If your dog starts to get distracted on a walk, say “watch me.” 

Train Your Dog to Check in During Walks

Before your dog gets distracted in the first place, practice having him or her check in during a walk. This is a simple way to reframe their focus away from the outside world and back onto you. As you walk, periodically say your dog’s name so they stop and look at you. It’s a good idea to supplement this with a small treat to create a positive association. Once your dog gets used to stopping and looking at you in these moments, it can be a helpful tool if you try to regain his or her focus when a distraction is present. 

We hope our training tips for how to keep your dog focused on walks help you overcome the many distractions competing for your dog’s attention during your daily strolls. 

Whether you are looking for help with a pet emergency or need specialty veterinary care for your pup, Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is here for you. Our talented team works hard to provide the services and resources you need to provide the best life for your pets. Call (248) 334-6877 to learn more.