What are the best ways to get my dog’s attention during training?

There are a few ways to get your dog’s attention, but it always begins with her first learning her name. She should learn her name the minute she walks through the door!

Here’s how to teach her:

• Make sure you and your puppy are in a quiet place that doesn’t have many distractions. Keep sessions short.
• Keep saying her name in a happy, high-pitched tone. When she looks up, praise and give her a treat.
• Gradually start to increase the distractions around you once the puppy is responding regularly to her name by looking up at your face. Continue to praise and treat.
• Only use your puppy’s name in positive situations. Never use her name to reprimand. You’ll only reinforce her fear and she’ll be less likely to come or look at you when you say her name.
You can also get her attention by using “non-emotional” sounds, like whistling, coughing, making kiss noises, tongue-clicking or buzzing. For example, if you whistle and she looks at you, praise and treat. This tactic tends to work particularly well if she’s a little distance from you, for example, if you are at a park and you want her to come.
Another good way is to get eye contact. Here, clicker training seems to work particularly well. To clicker-train your dog, follow these instructions:
• Call your dog’s name.
• If your dog looks into your eyes, click and treat.
• If your dog does not react to your call, put a treat in front of your dog’s nose.
• Move the treat slowly between your eyes and then call your dog’s name again.
• When your dog looks into your eyes, click and treat.
• Your dog should naturally look at you by following the treat.
• Do that 2 to 3 times until she gets the idea.
• Now hide the treat in your pocket.
• Call your dog’s name. If he/she looks into your eyes, click and treat.
• Repeat this several times every day.

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