Teaching Your Dog to Pay Attention

Teaching Your Dog to Pay Attention

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  1. You need your dog to pay attention to you in certain settings, like, in public. But they don’t usually do that without a bit of training first. The goal of this exercise is to teach your dog that watching you brings them rewards. In the end, they will be more apt to pay attention to you.

    What you’ll need:

    • Approximately 75 small, soft, tasty treats. Note: I use freeze dried meats, hot dogs or bits of cheese. It’s important to make the treats no bigger than an inch. Using the tip of your pinky is a good measurement.
    • Your dogs favorite toy.

    Step One:

    Stand still, giving approximately 4 to 5 feet of space between you and your dog.

    Step Two:

    Simply wait, looking at them. More than likely, they will sniff around, then, turn around to look up at you.

    Step Three:

    At the very second your dog looks up at you, give them their reward and some praise. Note: Timing is everything at the beginning of this exercise.

    Step Four:

    Toss a treat away from you. This will lure them away from you without you having to move. In just a short amount of time, they will turn to get the treat, then, quickly look up at you. Praise and reward them with either treats or their toy for this. 

    Step Five:

    Repeat steps 1 through 4.


    • Start indoors and do this in as many different rooms as you have.
    • Always be prepared to praise and reward your dog. Some dogs hesitate looking into the eyes of anyone because in canine body language, a direct stare is a threat.
    • It’s okay if your dog continues to gaze at you while they eat their treat. Reward them for it.
    • Your dogs attention span will probably be very low in the beginning, so rapid reinforcement and good timing are the keys to a lesson well taught.
    • Until your dog is doing this behavior on their own, do not insert a verbal command. Once they have the hang of this game, you can choose a command word. Common commands are "here", "look" and "watch".

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