My dog knows the command but is distracted now. How to train a dog that is distracted by everything. These are the common question that every pet owner ask when their dog is engaging in everything else except listening to your commands.
It’s just like us when we are working in an office and picking up the phone just to check the time but spending 15 to 20 minutes watching useless memes and videos. It’s a distraction from us.
Well, dogs do the same, when they find anything that is more interesting than your commands, like a Squirrel, they want to chase it as it is more interesting for them, rather than listening to your commands. but, don’t be upset, in the article we’ll talk about how to deal with such scenarios. and, How to get a dog to listen when distracted
How to Train Dogs Not To Get Distracted
Dogs are naturally curious animals and like to take their nose when they want to explore. They might not know, that they are called the “Distraction dog.” they simply exploring the world. and sniffing new things. but, basic training and rewards can do what you want.
Step 1. Start From a Quiet Room
In order to teach your dogs to focus on commands, you need to start from a distraction environment. Make sure your dog has nothing to focus on except you. Must have a bag of treat with you, so every time your dog listen to your command, reward them.
TIP: The best time for this training is when your dog is hungry. Doing that so your dog is hungry and focuses on the training better. but, another tip here is to make sure the dog is not super hungry. use half of the food as a treat.
Step 2. Do a Treats Test
A treat test is when you test what food your dogs like the most. Some say my dog is not food-motivated. but, in most cases, the pet owners don’t know what they like the most. Some dogs will do anything for a biscuit while other needs boiled chicken or meat.
For that, have 3-4 types of treats at once, for some treats your dog will sniff but not eat, for some they might eat but not very interestingly. we need to find something that made your dog roll over you.
Some breeds might not be excited by treats but they are more into toys. find out what your dog excites you the most and use that thing when your dog listens to your commands.
Step 3. Training
Once you are in a quiet room with a dog you know which treats excite your dogs the most. now, you are very close to training your dog to not get distracted.
TIP: Keep the training sessions short and interesting, otherwise, your dog will get bored, and then distracted.
- Focus Training: In a quiet room, don’t say anything and just keep looking at your dog, and every time your dog looks at you. Show them how happy you are and reward them. This way your dog knows they are doing something good, and should do more. This small training also helps in creating a good bond between you and your dog.
- Name Training: Does your dog look back at you when you call them? Do they respond to you by their name if not! then you need to teach. it is because if they start to lose focus outside, calling them by name and having a practice of responding can help in minimizing distraction.
- Marker Word Training: Once your dog has responded to you over their name. introduce words like “Good Job” and “Nice Boy or Girl” Always say these words in the same positive tone. so, your dog can understand they are doing something right. Also, you can use a clicker with a marker word for better attention.
- Heel Training: Once start to pay attention to the rest position. start to gain their attention when you are moving. Just start roaming around the room, don’t call them. If they start looking at you, don’t treat them. let them understand that this time they need to do a bit more to get a reward. once they start walking with you. reward them.
- Recall Training: Once your dog is familiar with their name, it’s time to call them by their name but from a distance. take 2-3 steps away from your dog and call them by their name. and, when they come to you, reward them. slowly add a few more steps. and then try.
Tip: Make sure to reward them for positive behavior and don’t reward them if they’ve not listened to you. if you start to give them treats without any reason then they’ll no more interested in it. knowing they get it any time.
Step 4. Slowly Add Distraction.
Don’t be so hurry in adding distraction. but, once you know your dog is well-trained inside with no distractions. then slowly add them. First, You need to check what distracts your dogs the most. Either people or, the sound of traffic or other dog?
- If your dog is distracted by the people, invite 1-2 members in the room and see if they are still listening to your commands. but, make sure not to invite strangers directly. you can start it by calling family members, or someone your dog already knows. if your dog is acting well, give them treats and add different types of distractions.
- If your dog is mostly distracted by traffic sounds, play traffic sounds on a speaker or TV for more distraction. and see if they are performing well.
- if it’s another dog that your dog gets most distracted by. See, if you can manage to have more dogs in the room to check if they are listening to you or not.
Finding out what distracts your dogs the most and training them for it, is the only solution to make sure your dogs don’t get distracted outside.
Step 5. Try Outside
If your dog is trained inside and performing well inside even with distractions. It’s time to see your progress level. But, start with an easy level and slowly move to the busier side. Some pet experts say to check your dog’s training progress at your doormat with a half gate open, then slowly open the full gate. do some practice right outside your apartment (if it’s not a busy area.) The purpose is to slowly add distractions outside.
Try to go to parks when there’s no one then start going when there are more people and so on.
Step 6. Consistency is The Key
Make sure to do it with consistency, otherwise, your dog won’t know what you taught them yesterday. don’t keep the sessions too long but consitance. A session of 10 to 20 minutes is more than enough. If you think I might not have time for it. See you should have a dog if you work full time.
How to Get a Dog to Listen When Distracted Outside?
Even after the proper indoor training, there are possibilities that the dog will get distracted outside, so instead of getting irritated, do the following steps.
- Call Them By Name
- Touch Them
- Switch to higher-value treats
- Change the Location
- Increase The Pace
- Increase your Excitement
- Always Be a leader
1. Call Them By Name
If your dog is properly trained by their name. and, give you attention anytime you call them. so, there is a high chance that whenever your dogs get distracted outside, they’ll start giving attention back.
2. Pat Them
When the dog is distracted outside, a touch of the body or a pat on their beautiful fur can make them calm. and gives you attention towards training.
3. Change the Location
Switching from crowded areas to less distracting areas can help in dog focus on you instead of distractions.
3. Switch to Higher Value Treats
You might not be providing enough motivation to dogs to listen to you. You can have two types of treat, one lower-value treat for indoor training and another high-value treat for outdoor training.
In general, low-value treats can be considered as biscuits, fruits, or dog food. whereas, high-value treats can be considered sausages, cheese, or hot dogs. This can vary from breed to breed and dog to dog.
4. Increase Your Pace
The slower you move the more time you are giving a dog to notice other things and get distracted. it doesn’t mean you start pulling the leash and dragging them. but, showing them some sort of hurriedness, charge them and start running faster.
5. Increase Your Excitement
The success rate of your dog training depends on your excitement level. it shows how much you are connected with them. engaged with them and our dog feels it too.
In the start, it might be hard to achieve as you are not used to it. but, soon when you start taking more interest, your dogs will start taking more interest in the training rather than obsiticals.
You can use marker words like “good job” “well done” and “My Boy or Girl” in such an exciting way to show your interest in the training.
6. Always Be a Leader
Whenever your dog is distracted start pulling the leash. here, the dogs want you to chase after you. The best thing you can do is ignore them and “be a tree.”
Your dog will definitely look at you that’s why you are not moving. once the leash is loose, you can start running in the opposite direction. In this way, you’ll become a leader, and the dog will forget all the distractions and start following you.
Distraction training is necessary for dogs to transform them into the best and most well-behaved companions.
Different tricks and tips have been discussed in this article to make them obedient in the presence of distractions. The use of positive enforcement, patience, and consistency are the keys to success.
To make this journey more exciting, build a strong bond with your dog. Never hesitate to seek professional guidance during training, if needed. Training will make them able to ignore distractions, either household chores or outdoor distractions.
Dr. Attia Awais -Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)
(Islamia University Bahawalpur)
M.Phil Microbiology (University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore)
I am a passionate veterinarian with a deep love for dogs and a strong commitment to their well-being. My expertise in veterinary medicine, combined with my genuine affection for dogs, uniquely qualifies me to write informative and insightful articles about these beloved companions. Whether it’s topics on dog health, behavior, or care, I’m dedicated to providing valuable insights to fellow dog lovers.
AREAS OF Expertise
- Dog and Wellness
- Canine Behavior and Training
- Nutrition and Dietary Requirements for Dogs
- Infectious Disease Management in Dogs