Service Dogs, Inc. shows you how to encourage your dog to ignore distractions and give its attention to you instead.
Service Dogs are allowed in public places like restaurants and stores. We get lots of compliments on how well behaved our dogs are in public.
You can use the same training techniques to help your dog with impulse control over distractions like food on the floor, other animals or anything else in the environment. Reward your dog for choosing to ignore the distraction and giving you its attention instead. Your reward will need to be valuable enough to make it worth it to the dog.
To begin, have a treat in your closed hand. Reward the dog once he stops investigating your hand and moves his head away from it. Eventually, he will ignore your hand and give you eye contact. Reward that and then move onto the next step of having the treat in your open hand. If he tries to go for it, just move your hand away and start again. Once he looks at you, say “yes” and give him the treat. The next step will be moving the treat to different places such as on the floor.
When he is doing this predictably, you can insert the cue “Off” just before he looks at you. From there, try using the “Off” cue with different objects such as toys, people and other dog.
It is important to reward the cue “Off” well because you are competing with tempting distractions. Rewards can be a high value treat or something the dog loves to do like play with a toy or even access to the person or other dog.
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