1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Tips on how to increase focus :)

Discussion in 'Dog Training' started by MrsBeeks, Apr 16, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. MrsBeeks

    MrsBeeks Boxer Booster

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm wondering if anyone has any tips to share on how to increase focus with my diggity dog Dutch. :) I have been working on "watch me" since he was a baby, and he knows the command, and I can get him to do it just about anywhere, but, he won't keep his focus on me for long. He will "watch me" and hold for a bit but as soon as there is a sound from anywhere else, it is like his head is on a swivel and then he won't pay attention. :) I have been working with him alot because he can be a little reactive on the leash, so my goal with this "watch me" business is that i want to be able to get his attention to potentially break him out of the "zone" if he gets a bead on another dog as it is passing by. :)
    Any tips would be much appreciated!
    Thanks so much!
     
  2. Gunther

    Gunther Super Boxer

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    2
    These might be of value:

    Stop your dog from pulling on the leash video - YouTube
    Reactive Dog 2A - YouTube

    The watch me thing, I never noticed before I got my GSD, never saw anything like him before my Boxer knew I was there but my GSD watches me! Clearly different.

    If they get locked on something, "minor" correct, finger poke or "tap" on the head with the loose end of the leash (Not smack the crap out of them!) and move along dog should be sufficient.

    Never had an issue with my Boxer my Bull Mastiff/APBT and my GSD, would kinda lock on another dog, on occasion but a simple tap or poke and they moved alone without issue. :)
     
  3. furrykidmom

    furrykidmom Completely Boxer Crazy

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2005
    Messages:
    873
    Likes Received:
    7
     
  4. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs Boxer Insane

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,472
    Likes Received:
    18
    Getting a reliable "watch me" and employing it to keep a reactive dog's attention on the handler when around triggers used to be the go-to strategy for managing a dog's reactivity. However, many dogs' reactivity is actually rooted in fear, anxiety or insecurity around other dogs. For handlers of those dogs, using the "watch me" cue can actually backfire, sometimes increasing the dog's reactivity and almost always degrading the reliability to which the dog performs the behavior.

    Think of it this way--you and your friend are walking down the street and a strange man starts to approach you. Strange men make you a bit anxious so you start to go on high alert and keep your eyes on him. Your friend says "watch me" so you look at her but then you remember the strange man and feel compelled to look back and sure enough the man is closer. Your friend says "watch me" again, you know that she expects you to look at her but you also know that if you look at her, you might miss something the man does and you really feel like you need to keep your eyes on him in case he does something. See the conflict? That's the situation for a lot of dogs. Eventually, they learn that "watch me" usually means that there is a strange dog around and will often start to ignore the cue and start looking around for the dog that must be there.

    Recently some new approaches have been developed and are being increasingly recommended by trainers and behaviorists with great results. For reactive dogs I recommend using Dr. Sophia Yin's healing patterns for reactive dogs, videos and descriptions of which are available on her blog Animal Behaviorist | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS and Grisha Stewart's BAT (Behavior Adjustment Training), descriptions and video of which can be found at Official Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) site: humane help for aggression, frustration, and fear in dogs, horses, and other animals.

    A nice, reliable "watch me" cue is still a handy thing to have though. If you want to build reliability then you need to incorporate duration and distractions into your training. Start small, and build difficulty gradually. In the house, cue your dog to "watch me" and reward with food. Then start delaying the reward by 1 second intervals until your dog will watch you for a desired length of time.

    Once you've got good duration, start adding distractions--small stuff at first. Get some good food treats and ask your dog to "watch me". Then make your distraction sound--something like tapping your toe or having someone rustle a paper a short distance away. If your dog looks away just say "oops" or "too bad" and quickly walk away with the food. They will probably follow you. Repeat the exercise. Your dog will probably not look toward the sound this time. If he doesn't look and instead stays focused on you, reward him well with the food. If he looks to the sound, consider using a quieter or less distracting sound. Gradually work your way up to more difficult sounds, rewarding well for ignoring the sounds and staying focused on you. Once you've got him ignoring even the most difficult sounds, start varying your rewards and fading the food.
     
  5. MrsBeeks

    MrsBeeks Boxer Booster

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you so much for your replies!! I'm usually so quick to get on here and say thank you to you all, so I apologize for my tardiness. :(
    We have been working with Dutch, and I have dropped my original plan for how to use the "watch me" command because what you said makes so much sense TwoDogs....thank you for that. I still am building up his duration so that it is more reliable and I have worked him up to "watching me" for a good count of 30 before I release him even outside in distractions now, which is good. My 7 year old daughter Graycie has been also working on the "watch me" command with Dutch and is doing well too. She is a "trainer" in training i say, as she really gets a great joy out of the challenge, and Dutch listens to her better than she does my husband sometimes. :D
    I have been diligent with working on his reactiveness, and he is doing really great!!! I mean, he never was severely reactive, I just know that it can happen, so I have been trying really hard to "nip it in the bud" before it could get bad. I can now walk him by a fence that has a dog barking his head off at Dutch, and I can get him to ignore it about 85% now........the other 15% of the time he sometimes gets a bark of his own off first, but I can always bring him back into ignoring it real quick and we move on!
    When another dog is passing us on a walk, I can pull Dutch off to a comfortable distance and have him sit and wait, and he does so quite patiently until the other dog passes, then I praise him and off we go. In fact, he had a completely out of control 8 month old GSD stretched out at the end of his leash and barking in Dutch's face, and Dutch sat rather patiently for the longest time. I praised the ever livin' crap out of him when the owner finally dragged his dog away. :D
    I'm pretty proud of us. :) I have even managed to talk my hubby into following the code and training him on walks like I am, and you wouldn't believe how much that has helped!
    Consistency is the key for sure, and with both of us using the same methods, we are getting results so much quicker.
    I really like the blog by Dr. Yin, so I have been reading and watching on it, so thank you so much for that tip!!
    We are still a work in progress, but, he is head and tails above the way things were heading, and since he just turned 2 years old, I think hopefully he will just improve with age.
    I was told that a boxer boy who just turned 2 years, often hasn't "found his brain" yet......and I think that is true for Dutch because he still has all the excitement and play that he had as a wee puppy. :)
    So thank you all so much again, I really appreciate it so much!!
     
  6. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs Boxer Insane

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,472
    Likes Received:
    18
    Good for you and Dutch! Glad to hear that things are going so well and that my advice was of help. I really like Dr. Yin too. I have a couple of her seminars on DVD--really good stuff.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page