Attention Creates Connection

Attention Creates Connection


Let’s start with the definition of “attention”– notice taken of someone or something; the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important. (Oxford Languages Dictionary). Attention is necessary for communication to take place between 2 people or a person and a dog.

The definition of “focus” is the center of activity or interest (Oxford Languages Dictionary). So if we put them both together, we would like your dog to notice you and make you the center of his or her activity.

Attention and focus build a connection between you and your dog. They are the foundation of the teaching of any behavior. Focus and Attention are both important behaviors not only to teach but also to continually reinforce to make your dog’s training successful. Once your dog is focused on you, the environment and its contents become less valuable to your dog. Connections are built with your dog through consistent positive interactions, rewards, training, and games with your dog.

Connection-building games are wonderful opportunities for you to increase engagement and focus between you and your dog. These games are always important for warming up and beginning an exercise, getting your dog’s attention, and helping support your dog in challenging situations.

Participation Game

Goal: This game helps your dog learn that engagement with you is fun and rewarding. Play it daily for 5-10 repetitions to instill value in you with your dog.

Step 1: Move around your training space and don’t say anything or talk to your dog. No coaxing. Movements should be in straight lines… front, back, left, and right. Keep moving. Your dog needs to be an active learner.

Step 2– Click (with your clicker) or “yes” the moment your dog takes a step toward you. (The click or “yes” is to mark the correct behavior for the dog. The connection between the marker and the treat will increase the desirability of the behavior.) Present the food in your hand and take a few steps quickly backward.

Step 3– Let your dog move in to retrieve the food in your hand.

Step 4- Then move around again and repeat the targeting of your hand for food.

Step 5- Add some follow-the-hand fun maneuvers where you move your hand in different directions so your dog will learn to target your hand.

Step 6- If you want to increase the fun and level up the game, you can drop the food after you mark the dog’s step toward you and continue moving. You can also toss the treat and keep your dog deciding to work with you even if he or she is further away. Keep it fast-paced and fun!!!

Share On:

%d bloggers like this: