Focus Work. Focus, Wally! Focus! | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Focus Work. Focus, Wally! Focus!

One area Wally certainly needs more work in is in focusing on what he needs to do. So often, he gets distracted because he's so...curious (read: nosy) about what's going on around him. It is even worse if it's a dog or person as he's paying so much attention on where they are.

What much of the day of training was today was just him staring at me, maintaining eye contact for a certain amount of time, then getting rewarded.

This is ridiculously hard for him. I think I'm going to make this a focus (no pun intended) of training for a while. Also work with him looking at me first thing if we stop walking and keep looking at me. Sometimes, he'll look at me, but then if I don't look at him, I can see him in the corner of my eye looking around. Other times, he's too busy trying to find something (likely cats under cars) to where he doesn't look up at me for some time.

I do plan to have a new cue for focusing ("mires" a form of the Spanish verb for "look" or "watch"), but for now, I'll probably approach it from a shaping type method where he has to figure out what he needs to do.

The other part will have to come form me remembering to do it! With the things we're working on, sometimes "simple" behaviors like this get left out of my mind. I will have to really consider a "basics training day" along the lines of the "all positive monday" - that would help me get more on top of it.

Looks like we both have some work to do. Nothing new there!