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Old 11-12-2012, 10:45 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Teaching Focus?

I've used the search bar, and read quite a few other posts on here regarding teaching a dog to focus but I still have a lot of questions.

My puppy Riley is three months old, can sit and lay on command, and has always had a natural heel when leashed(unless distracted)

Is three months a good age to begin working on focus? Are there other commands I should teach her before we begin focus work?
I read that a lot of people use a closed hand containing treats, or a toy to gain a dogs focus, and that when eye contact is made, the dog is rewarded, that being said... Is focus something you teach using a command? or is it something the dog will learn to do without a command? How do I ensure that the dog will focus, without a command, or something in hand?

I apologize for the overload of questions, I guess I'm just really confused when it comes to focus, It's something I've only learnt of people training their dogs in the last few weeks, and something I'd like to teach my Riley. This isn't my first time training a dog, I took classes with one of our last dogs, and my parents have been training dogs for years, but I'd never heard of teaching focus before, I always assumed it was something some dogs naturally had, and other didn't.

If someone can give me any advice, or help point me in the right direction to teaching my new pup this, it'd be greatly appreciated.
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I hold treats up by my face when they are this young and say their name and when they look at me I treat. After they seem to get this I say me and when they look treat. Your command word can be whatever you want. Your pup is young so this will take time but in training if we can get them to look at us thats focus Puppy classes would be good too
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Schutzhund-Training.com - Focus and Attention
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you both, I think I already have a better understanding.
That link cleared up most of the confusion I was having, I've favorited the website for future reference
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:37 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Whizzler View Post
Thank you both, I think I already have a better understanding.
That link cleared up most of the confusion I was having, I've favorited the website for future reference
It is a great site for pointers on teaching all of the exercises. I especially like the clicker-retrieve.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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What do I do if she keeps losing interest? I've tried a variety of different things, food, treats, toys, it doesn't matter what I have, she trys nudging my hands a few times, but than gives up and leaves to go lay down. I've gotten her to look at me a few times, but after that she's just completely lost interest.

I'm still not quite sure how focusing works, how do they know when to focus and when not to? Is it something any dog can learn to do?
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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First... a hungry puppy. Skip a meal and use the training treats as food. I prefer Bil-jac or Natural Balance roll, roasted chicken.... something that is "real" food and not junk. Very small, one swallow, pieces.
I start with it in my hand, then in a pouch, then quickly to a bowl placed strategically in the room. If you "lure" too long, you will never recover. Speaking from experience.

Second.... where will you train? Always start an exercise in a low stimulus environment. I prefer the den, then move to my yard, then the park, then Petsmart/Petco. You get the idea; progressively more difficult. This may take 6 weeks.
(Remember, if your puppy holds eye contact for 30 seconds in the den, go back to 2 seconds when you change locations.)

Time of session.... I use the commercial break during a show. No longer than that for each session.

I use "ready" in a happy voice to indicate start of training, and "That'll do" in a low tone to indicate the end.

Be a vending machine. At first the puppy should not really be nudging hands. If puppy is nudging, you waited too long. Don't ask for perfection at first. A glance in the facial area works.
(This is where the clicker comes in super handy if you decide to use one).
Then glance for one second, then two, etc.

Be The Chihuahua..... In other-words, be energetic, move around, and talk to your dog in a voice that gets his attention. If you need a high pitched squeak.... do it
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Last edited by gagsd; 11-13-2012 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gagsd View Post
First... a hungry puppy. Skip a meal and use the training treats as food. I prefer Bil-jac or Natural Balance roll, roasted chicken.... something that is "real" food and not junk. Very small, one swallow, pieces.
I start with it in my hand, then in a pouch, then quickly to a bowl placed strategically in the room. If you "lure" too long, you will never recover. Speaking from experience.

Second.... where will you train? Always start an exercise in a low stimulus environment. I prefer the den, then move to my yard, then the park, then Petsmart/Petco. You get the idea; progressively more difficult. This may take 6 weeks.
(Remember, if your puppy holds eye contact for 30 seconds in the den, go back to 2 seconds when you change locations.)

Time of session.... I use the commercial break during a show. No longer than that for each session.

I use "ready" in a happy voice to indicate start of training, and "That'll do" in a low tone to indicate the end.

Be a vending machine. At first the puppy should not really be nudging hands. If puppy is nudging, you waited too long. Don't ask for perfection at first. A glance in the facial area works.
(This is where the clicker comes in super handy if you decide to use one).
Then glance for one second, then two, etc.

Be The Chihuahua..... In other-words, be energetic, move around, and talk to your dog in a voice that gets his attention. If you need a high pitched squeak.... do it
Thanks!
After a bit of fooling around we finally found a way that worked for us, we've been working at it for about 2 days now and she can already hold the eye contact for 5 seconds, which is a lot more progress than I expected to have by day two
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Old 11-16-2012, 08:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whizzler View Post
Thanks!
After a bit of fooling around we finally found a way that worked for us, we've been working at it for about 2 days now and she can already hold the eye contact for 5 seconds, which is a lot more progress than I expected to have by day two
Glad to be of help.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:39 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Remember to not push to fast or expect too much. We need to figure out how to train the young puppies so they succeed in the session. So keeping it fun, fast, high reward values, all are key.

You also working on engagement training? ---> Engagement - Key to Training

And our puppies learn so much faster using marker training like with a clicker --> Intro to Clicker Training (perfect for puppies!)

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