How to Redirect Your Dog’s Attention

Believe it or not, our dogs don’t always act how we want them to. For instance, my neighbor has a woodpecker problem. He installed a fake black spider that hides in a box that is attached to the side of his house, which is of course the side by my house. He installed it before I could get the chance to ask him to introduce it to my girls so that they wouldn’t freak out. So, sure enough, the next morning a woodpecker started to peck at his house. The fake black spider fell down from its box in a fury with a terrible noise and freaked out the woodpecker and both of my girls! It wouldn’t have been so bad but, the sensor on that spider was so sensitive that when it came out one dog would bark at it, then, it wouldn’t make its way back into its box before dropping again. I knew what I had to do: I had to redirect her attention.

I stocked up my trainers treat bag and headed outside with my girls. The whole point of redirecting their attention with treats is to encourage the dog to look at me (the owner) and ignore whatever is distracting her or making her become fearful. This helps her make a more positive association with the situation. You also have to remember to praise your dogs when they are behaving the way you want them to (in this case not barking at the spider). It didn’t take long for my girl to start looking at me for a treat instead of barking at the spider and after a couple of days I stopped giving her treats and just praised her for being so good.

Desiree Yonts is an ABC Certified dog trainer in Union county, New Jersey. You can find her blog at

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