Training is an important and necessary part of having a dog. I believe focus is the most important and the first thing you should train your dog/puppy. Every other command builds on them being able to focus on you. Communication with your dog is easier when he can focus on you instead of the distractions around him. It can help your dog cope with a situation that is stressful to him. You can use a word such as "focus" or "watch me" or simply use the dog's name. When I say my dog's name, I want them to stop whatever they are doing and turn to look at me.
The simple act of eye to eye contact with my dogs has changed the dynamics of our relationship. They now quickly look to me for guidance when they are in a situation they are unsure of. When I call their name, they now come to find me much quicker than before.
I wanted to share with you an exercise I have been using with my dogs for a few months now that has taught them excellent focus skills and has created great "muscle memory". It has become automatic and they can't help themselves but to look in my eyes when I say their name. I feed my dogs twice a day so I get to practice this command many times a day.
I think it is important to build training into your normal day so that it isn't something that is likely to be forgotten.
Here are the steps:
(1) I give my dogs the "Place" command, which means go sit on your spot, don't get off and chill out. (Your dog doesn't have to be in "Place" to do this exercise. I started out with them just standing in front of me.)
(2) I grab a handful of kibble, stand in front of them, hold both my hands up and out to the sides & say their name (only once). (Sometimes I won't even say their name, I just wait for the eye contact.)
(3) The minute I get eye contact, I say "Yes" and reward with the kibble in my hand.
You will notice as they get really proficient at this, they will stare a hole through you as you approach them (notice Daisy in the video). Be sure to practice at other times too so they will focus at times other than meals.
It's easy to come up with many different situations where you could use basically the same steps to practice focus such as using a toy, a treat, picking them up, putting on their leash to walk, etc.
Give this a try with your pup and let me know how it goes....