A student with a newly adopted shelter dog asked me on the second day of class, "Diane, how can I train my dog when he won't even look at me?"  My answer was, "He needs a reason." To look at you means he is engaged with you, has a relationship with you, has learned what to expect from you. This can be challenging with puppies, novice and rehomed dogs AND obviously frustrating for the owner-trainer.   

Hints for making your training more productive

Cues as Combinations
Many basic cues (commands) are a combination of two cues: "Fido, Sit"
     Cue #1 "Fido" asks for the dog's attention  
     Cue # 2 "Sit" requests an action 

To Improve Your Training Results: 
    1) resist rolling cues together, for example:  "Fidosit"  
    2) always gain his attention first   
    3) invest time in practicing the attention cue alone (see below)

Cues as Confusion
Have you heard the phrase "sit means sit"? It often places the onus on the dog to get it right the first and every time. Yet, the odds are if the dog is not reliable on "sit" or other cues, it is a training problem.    

     Cue#2"Sit"  (lies down,or does something other than "sit")

To Improve Your Training Results:      
    1) always reset the exercise (best to begin again)
    2) resist the machine gun method: "sit sit sit sit sit" 
    3) teach the cue in a number of different environments                                                

Cues as Clue to Your Relationship
Does your dog find training fun? interesting? Does he enjoy training time with you? Is spending time with you one of the best things in his life?

      Cue#1"Fido" (attention or not)
      Cue#2, "sit" (sits in sloowwwwww motion)

To Improve Your Training Results:
     1) make training fun, interesting, rewarding 
     2) train with a happy face and voice
     3) approach training as teamwork


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