Get Your Pup to Focus on You (Part One)

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    Getting your dog to focus on you is one of the more difficult training methods, and it takes some persistence if you're dealing with a dog that wasn't trained early as a pup. It is a building block in constructing a healthy relationship between master and pet, and it will allow your dog to remain focused during the rabbit hunt. Whether you're dealing with a beagle, or any other dog, getting them to squarely focus on you is important. Before they focus on other animals, they need to learn to pay attention first and foremost.

    Eye Contact

    When training your young dog, it is important that he or she maintains ongoing eye contact with you. This not only builds a repore with you and the animal, but it will be crucial going forward if you want your dog to respond to commands. It is important to proclaim your status as pack later, and to make sure that your dog knows its name. When giving verbal commands, first state the name of your pet followed by the command.

    For instance, if you want your pet to sit, you would "Biscuit, heel."

    The dog should follow command while maintaining contact. Check out the video demonstration below.

    If you aren't training and your dog begins to look at you during a walk, click and reward him or her with a treat. You're trying to reinforce the dog's habit of looking at you.

    While training, walk backwards. If your dog follows you, respond with a treat. Walk further backwards and respond with a reward each time the dog follows you. This teaches your dog to look at you in different situations.

    The goal is to have your dog sitting while looking at you for at least 10-15 seconds.

    The next stage is to place a treat, toy, or some other objects that your dog typically covets. It can even be another dog. Set it before your dog and back away. If they look at you first before getting the object, give the go-ahead to retrieve the object.

    If your dog doesn't look at you, clap or get his or her attention with a toy. One of the reasons why people have such a hard time getting their dogs to focus is because whatever they are preoccupied with is more fun than the command. If you attach your commands with praise and toys, your canine will eventually come to you.

    Use different sets of command words.

    For example, if you always use the word "come on" whenever it is bath time, your dog will not be as enthusiastic when using the same words on a hunting campaign. Use "come on" for baths and "let's go" during hunting excursions. This is something your dog will learn over time during daily routines.

    Everyday Training Techniques

    Training sessions are one thing, but training is actually a 24/7 job. Spending time with your dog is the best way to foster a responsive and disciplined animal. For instance, show your dog that you depend on him or her every day. Instilling fear and harsh discipline will cause your pet to fear you. Have them do simple tasks such as having them retrieve a newspaper, or getting an object from the house at a particular time of day. This is a perfect stepping stone in getting your dog to retrieve rabbit kills. And showing that you depend on him or here will naturally give the animal a sense of pride and belonging within the family.

    When they respond to retrieval commands, respond by vocalizing your approval, or giving them treats. Always be aware of your tone of voice, since dogs can distinguish between negative and positive commands. Show the dog that you're happy by smiling and physically touching it if you're close. You may want to skip the touching phase if your dog is sensitive to touch.

    These are just a few of many training tactics you can use, and every owner has different approaches. But spending time with the dog and making it feel part of the pack is imperative.

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