Here is the latest post I made concerning teaching focus. My suggestion is to teach with food initially, but remember use whatever motivator works for your dog.
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Here are some of my suggestions for teaching the watch command. I hold my hands to my side with a treat in each hand. I like to confront the problem of using food as a lure right away. Make sure your dog knows that both hands have a treat in them. The dog will probably nudge the hands. He may stare at your hands. However, eventually he will look up at you. When he does mark this behavior with a single word. This word is your secondary reinforcer. I use the word GOOD. I say it as soon as I get eye contact. At first the eye contact will be fast so be ready. Then reward him after the GOOD. This will take lots of repetitions, but it will get that focus on YOU not the food. Some people suggest luring with the food by moving it to your eyes, but then again you have to remove the food at some point and it becomes more difficult. I like to make the dog think and this way he has a choice and must use his brain. I attached some training photos below.
More Teaching Focus. Notice my training partner holding her hands out to her side (her hands are full of Ham) and the dog is still focused on her.
Here is a photo of generalizing the focus to everyday activities.
Here are some heeling shots.
Here is my daughter and training partner heeling with a toy.
I hope this helps and if you have more questions you can PM me as well. Good Luck!!
One more thing about this exercise, after a week or so you should try this exercise with the food bowl, going outside, and also with toys. Generalize the command to any and everything. What you are really teaching is that if the dog looks at you good things happen. Basically you become the center of his universe.
Dad is working on his new kennel for his new dogs. He is not on the board much now. I tell him to post when I think someone needs his advice. I think he checks the board at work but not often. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/13_puppy.gif
Hey Gabby ask your dad to check out 2 posts I made up in chat. One is older and titled "Now I've Done It Big Vent" and the other I just put up tonight titled "I Don't Know What to Do." I actually could use his input.
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Excellent! Thanks so much!! lol, how did you get such a great heel??
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Gabby is a heck of a trainer!!! I just watch her most of the time. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/05_biggrin.gif
We start with focus and then move to the heeling and other commands. Having the dog think you are the source of all good things makes teaching other commands easy. Good Luck!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/18_thumb.gif
What is most challenging, depending on the dog, is teaching focus when there are distractions. Initally, it won't take much to distract some dogs.
If the dog is a rescue, it's possible that this is the most difficult thing to teach because eye contact in their previous life may have brought on bad things. For example, "watch me" was one of the most difficult commands for my GSD to learn. I had to spit cashews from my mouth at him because he was the king of the "side glance", so he didn't have to look you in the eye.
I love it. I have been working on these Focus suggestions since the thread started. Now to put it to use tonight at class!
On a down/stay Buddy flops over to sniff the floor mat and is not watching me. When the instructor tells us to Sit our dog with or without voice command I have to wave my arms (behind the teacher's back and she usually catches me) to get Buddy's attention Yoo hoo LOL Very embarrassing, on our 3 yr of class! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/04_redface.gif
This is my daughter during her BH routine at our club trial. She got a standing ovation as she came back for the critique. The judge and all the spectators were quite impressed. I think she is really doing well! (PROUD DAD /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/01_smile.gif)
Wow, impressive, Good job Gaby!!!! Jayda (so far) really has amazing focus for being only 4 months old. She will just stare at me. I put her food down and she stares at me until she gets her release. I've gotten a quite a few compliments on her focus. Now the tough part to is continue and retain that with her. Any tips on retaining that as she gets older? She has to "watch" before she eats, to get a treat, before she goes outside. Any other suggestions?