Hints and tips

Attention - Watch

If you can get your dog's attention by asking him to look at you then you will get a much better response to commands.

  • Stand in front of your dog  an hold a treat in each hand.
  • Hold both hands near your chin and as your dog looks at you say 'Watch'
  • When your dog looks directly at you feed him a treat repeating'Watch' as you do so. Use either hand.

Now begin to teach your dog to look at you when there are distractions

  • Hold a treat in both hands near your chin
  • Keeping one treat still move the other slowly out to the side, if the dog follows the moving treat say'No' and bring it back to the center. Do not move too quickly or move too far.
  • Try to get your dog to concentrate on the static treat. If they do reward with the static treat. Never feed the moving treat.
  • Stand in front of your dog with a treat in each hand behind your back.
  • Tell your dog 'Watch' and bring one hand out into your dogs view, if he turns to look say 'No' and hide your hand again. 
  • Repeat until your dog will look at you rather than turn his head.

The level of distraction can be gradually increased as your dog understands more of what is wanted of him.

These steps should not be rushed. Do not move to the next step if your dog is not succeeding at a lower level.



Attention - Touch

Touch is a way of getting your dog to follow an empty hand. This is particularly useful when teaching heelwork (walking beside you).

Most methods of getting your dog to walk with you has you holding a treat to the dogs nose while you walk along saying 'Heel'. Although we think this is teaching to walk beside us what the dog is learning is that 'Heel' means follow the food, when we get rid of the food the dog loses interest.

Teaching Touch

  • Sitting in front of your dog hold some treats in your right hand.
  • Hold you hands beside each other at your dog's nose height. 
  • The hand with the treats forms a fist so the dog cannot get to the food, the other you hold flat offering the palm to your dog.
  • Do not say anything, your dog has to work this out for himself.
  • Your dog will worry your hand with the treats, eventually he will bang your flat hand with his nose. 
  • As he does so say 'Touch' and feed him from your food hand. 
  • Only feed if he uses his nose, do not feed if he uses his feet or nips you - you have to grin and bear it!
  • The first time he does it will be by chance, after two or three time he will start to think about how he is getting the food off you.
  • Once he realises that touching your empty hand with his nose makes you feed him you can now tell him to 'Touch'.
  • You can now move your hands apart so he has to move further to get his reward.
  • Eventually you will be able to 'steer' your dog with an empty hand as though you had food in it.