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4 Trainer Tips to Capture Your Dog's Attention During Walks

Does your dog get distracted on walks? Use these 4 trainer tricks to keep your dog focused during their walks.

Dog stopping when pet parent stops on a walk

Leash walking is one skill that can make life easier for you and you dog. You do it everyday - why not do it the best you can! If you are looking to get stared, check out our leash walking basics or see additional trainer tips.

Here are a few more skills to help your dog pay better attention on walks.

Pace Changes

Your dog can adjust his pace when you slow down to look at something or when you speed up to cross the street.

Start in a low-distraction environment. At a time when your dog is attentive, speed up. Reward them when your dog adjusts their pace to speed up too.  After doing this a few times, you can increase your speed even more. Work up to your fastest, comfortable pace.

We can do the reverse and also work with slower motion. At a time when your dog is attentive, slow way down. When your dog adjusts their pace to match, stop and reward.  Repeat this a few times before changing to an even slower pace.

Stop When You Stop

In a competition, dogs must stop and sit when a person stops. In a real-life situation, the sit isn’t necessary. Many dogs dislike sitting on wet, cold, or hot sidewalks. A calm stand can be a perfectly appropriate option.

Walk and encourage your dog to focus on you. Pause when your dog is focused on you. Watch for the moment when all four feet stop. Offer a treat at your side, even if they are out in front. Feed 3-10 pieces at your side, one at a time. Resume walking. 

Repeat this many times. Most dogs learn to stop at your side because that’s where the treats are coming from.

This activity teaches dogs to be attentive and to stop when you do - without you having to say anything!

Quick Turn Arounds

If you see a hazard or distraction, you may need to change direction quickly. Your dog can learn to immediately turn with you.

At a moment when your dog is focused, call their name and briskly turn the opposite way you were traveling. Reward them for coming with you. Make a big deal out of this! You can feed multiple treats one at a time, roll a treat for them to chase, and give a lot of praise.

Repeat the lesson many times - sometimes a few repetitions in a row and at random times during a walk. 

Untangle the Leash

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Short dogs and bouncy puppies will sometimes get a leg or two over the leash. Untangling these dogs can always be a little too exciting. Your dog can learn to untangle himself!

Drape enough leash so the leash is touching the ground. Use a treat or hand touch to encourage your dog to step their front feet over the leash and become untangled. Gently bring up the extra leash.

We want to maintain a slack leash, but not so slack they are getting tangled. 

If you are still struggling with leash walks or want to take your skills to the next level, get personalized virtual support from our training team through live video sessions.