Puppies are easily distracted by interesting sights, smells and other living things, which can interfere with training. If your pup is ignoring you, get him to focus on you using treats and toys; positively reinforce him when he pays attention to you and makes eye contact. With training, your pup will learn to pay attention to you on command and look forward to spending time with you.
Getting Pup's Attention
Teach your dog to pay attention to you when you call his name. When your pup looks at you, say his name, so that he associates the act of looking at you with his name, recommends Karin Larsen Bridge of Get S.M.A.R.T Dogs. You also can say your pup's name and when he makes eye contact with you, give him a treat or his favorite toy and some praise, according to VeterinaryPartner.com. Make the training harder by saying your pup's name, moving a few feet away and only rewarding the pooch when he follows you, retaining eye contact. Repeat this training for a few minutes a day until Fido consistently responds to his name.
Engage in Play
A puppy has a short attention span and may become bored when you aren't playing with him, causing him to seek out other ways to entertain himself. Prevent Fido's attention from wandering by engaging him in a fun game such as fetch or hide-and-seek with his favorite toys, recommends Animal Planet. To make such games tempting, smear the toys with a bit of puppy food or peanut butter. Throw the toy to him and tempt him back to you with tasty treats to play fetch, rewarding him when he drops the toy at your feet. For hide-and-seek, place the toy in a spot that he has to hunt for it, while following your lead to find it.
When interacting with your pup, always stay positive and upbeat. If you're constantly yelling at your little one for training mistakes, chewing on items or potty accidents, he's not going to want to spend time with you or pay attention to you. When you come near him, if Fido hides in fear or seems aloof, you'll need to change his perspective on spending time with you. Start by consistently keeping your tone of voice gentle and giving him treats when he comes over seeking your attention. You may want to hand-feed him his meals so that he associates you with good things, namely food, recommends the Best Friends Animal Society.
To help your puppy focus on you, attend puppy kindergarten classes, where a professional trainer can assist you to teach your pooch basic obedience amid the distractions of other little pups. When training your pup at home, start in a quiet room of your house, away from other family members and noise, to better hold your pup's attention, recommends the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Once he knows some basic commands like "Sit," "Stay," "Come" and "Leave it," train him in environments with more distractions, keeping his focus on you at all times. Soon, he should pay attention to you on command, even with all kinds of noises and interesting activities around him.
- VeterinaryPartner.com: Attention, Please!
- 2ndchance.info: Ain't Misbehavin' -- Training Your New Puppy
- Karin Larsen Bridge -- Get S.M.A.R.T Dog: Puppy Training Essentials
- Parkway Animal Hospital: Pet Owner's Guide to Teaching Obedience
- Best Friends Animal Society: Rehabilitating Your Rescued Dog: Using Positive, Gentle and Kind Techniques
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Training Your Dog
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.