Thursday, May 11, 2017

A Fun Way to Teach Your Dog Focus

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....


  1. hi, i've seen the focus training method, thank you for sharing and i will try this method later and let you know the results. i love to train my 8 mo schnauzer, i only have one for now :D, a white schnauzer. May i ask you some questions? what brand are you using to feed them dry dogfood? and how did you introduce new schnauzer puppy to older schnauzer in your house? cause i wanna find companion for Oscar, my white schnauzer. looking forward to your reply, thank you :)

    1. Thanks for your comment. Below is my answers to your questions:

      I alternate between a couple of dog foods: Acana & Orijen. They are both high quality, grain-free kibble. I also feed some fruits, vegetables, plain lean meat, and eggs as a supplement. I only feed treats that I myself make. They do not get any table food.

      I actually didn't do anything in particular when introducing puppies into my pack. I watched everyone closely the first couple of weeks, but they all seemed to accept the pups easily. I think a lot has to do with how your dogs see you. If you are clearly the pack leader, they will follow your lead.


Thank you for your comment. I appreciate all feedback.