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For dogs who have trouble focusing, I always used the “look at me” command. You can work on this wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Use it frequently not only in training, but in play and quiet times as well. You may only get his focus for 1-2 seconds at first, but be quick to praise and treat. Work at getting the eye contact longer and longer. A good “look at me” will override anything else he is doing.


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For dogs who have trouble focusing, I always used the “look at me” command. You can work on this wherever you are and whatever you are doing. Use it frequently not only in training, but in play and quiet times as well. You may only get his focus for 1-2 seconds at first, but be quick to praise and treat. Work at getting the eye contact longer and longer. A good “look at me” will override anything else he is doing.


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Cannot like this enough! Look at me is the default for all things scary, troubling, and potentially dangerous. It makes having a smart dog really easier in every day life. I just had a strange one like that. I was driving home from my business and we had a dumpster that was overflowing so I decided to just load 4 big garbage bags into my Fiat 500 and take them home. Louie and I made the short commute home. It was one of those really nice Fall days yesterday and I rolled down all my windows. Well those garbage bags started making a heck of a noise in the back. So Louie who is in his car seat buckled in - starts leaning really weirdly towards the middle and forwards. I couldn't figure out what that was all about until I realized he was trying to look into my eyes to see if that racket was ok. So at the next stop sign I made eye contact and told him it was alright and that is all it took - he was fine minding his own business from that point on even though the bags made an even laude racket when we got on the state route going faster. That is how powerful "Look at me" really is!
 

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Yes. “Look at me” got Lily from a scared shelter rescue to competition agility. It is a very powerful skill. We certainly did other things, but that focusing back to me when she felt scared, threatened, etc. with “look at me” was invaluable.

Now, with Gracie, energetic poodle pup, it has proved helpful for different reasons. When she is distracted by the other puppies in class, “look at me “ gets her to refocus.

Both Lily and Gracie always offer a sit with “look at me” (unless we’re on the move) and it is adorable, and very helpful for training. They arrived at this behavior for different reasons but it’s funny how similar their responses are.
 

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Absolutely:

!) Find dogs for yours to play with that are well behaved dogs. And let them play hard, even if really roughly, until they are worn out. Then take your dog to class.

2) Don't feed your dog for at least 6 hours before class so that it is super motivated to work for food/treats.

3) Find a REALLY GOOD behaviorist dog trainer and pay for 2 or 3 expensive private lessons before your next group class to work on any problem areas (A+ Plus if they have a dog that yours can super play with).

4) Have a variety of treats, from low to mid to high, and use them intermingled so they never know what they will get! But use Bingo High treats for exceptional performance.

5) Whenever you are going to do 'Training', announce it as such in a really fun voice and race off to do it! Wow, your dog will love it if it is exciting.

6) Make every training fun! Keep each training (except class) short , 5-10 minutes ending on a high note of play.

7) Give your put a hug from me!

NOTE: My Spoo has ended up being the highest in every class when I started doing these.
 

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I don't remember whether I said it earlier in this thread and/or in Javelin's training blog, but that focused attention is the key to everything. I have a friend who has an adult dog that he just got. It is a smooth collie who is an intact breed champion who may at some point be used to breed. The friend is a super experienced handler (used to breed GSD and worked for the NYPD canine unit). The new dog is very nice, but being a collie likes to make eye contact. Javelin had lots of issues with this dog when my friend first started bringing him. Now a couple of months later Javelin was able to keep his attention with me and what we were training with no worries or reactions. We did scent articles about 8 - 10 feet away from them. That was the result of me and Javelin working tons and tons on the at heel position heads up attention.


Also today I had a student come with her rough collie to work in my open class. There was only one other person there at that time (which was open class). The other person was my CKCS friend who worked her younger dog on open exercises while to woman with the collie and I worked at the back of the ring on focused attention to set up for lovely heeling (she really wants to trial). This was very interesting since my friend and her CKCS worked with beautiful attention and heeling despite the collie being pretty obsessed with watching her, so she got to see where she wants to be and got a good taste for how much work she has to do to reach her goal!
 
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