The Administrator from the Great White North, eh?
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Northern British Columbia
This is were proofing comes in. You may not have much time to work on this before your trial, but to proof his focus, he needs to know that watch me is not a choice.
See if you can get someone with a dog to help you. Practice stationary focus with your helper walking around with their dog as a distraction. Demand uninterupted focus. Don't be afraid to give a leash correction if needed.
Be ready to react as soon as you see the eyes move off you. You may only need to go "Ah-ah!" and give the leash a slight tug to get his attention back. Praise lavishly, reward with treats.
When stationary focus is good, start heeling around with him. At first, have your helper stay in one area and you walk around. Be upbeat and excited when you heel, you want to be more interesting than the other dog. Same idea: be ready to correct, leash tug(s), Verbal correction, quick praise when the focus shifts back onto you.
Then both you and your helper can be walking around, your helper making noises, walking in closer, etc.
Then increase the difficulty by practicing in very distracting environments, like in front of a busy store with lots of people coming and going, for example.
Be upbeat and fun! Reward lots like Jax said.
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Keeta BH, OB1, TR1, AD
Rottweiler/Hairy Dog mix?? 2004-2015