Is Your Dog Too Distracted when Training? 8 Tips to Avoid Distractions

Translated by Nick R

Sometimes it might be hard to get our dog to pay attention for a few minutes without getting distracted.

it might be frustrating and even problematic if we are trying to train our dog to obey commands and he gets distracted all the time.

So, if this is your case, here are some tips to get your dog focused on you and ignore distractions.

Why is my dog so easily distracted? 

Maybe your canine has a lot of energy and the thought of staying still is not very appealing to him, so he will probably get distracted by whatever causes him curiosity or encourages him to play.

Alternatively, your dog may not be well socialized, so when you try to train him in a place with too many stimuli (auditory, olfactory or visual) he will attempt to approach other dogs or objects out of curiosity and won’t pay attention to you.

It can also happen that you choose a place where he is not comfortable and, instead of acting curious (as I said before), he becomes nervous, fearful, or even aggressive.

Tips to make your dog pay attention to you during training 

1. How old is your dog? 

The first thing to keep in mind is your dog’s age, as it is completely normal for puppies to be easily distracted and only pay attention to you for a few minutes.

This will only require your full patience, at this stage they are discovering the world and everything around them calls their attention so be constant to see the rewards of early puppy training.

Likewise, if the dog is old, he’ll probably not have the same energy as before to follow you or try to understand you in a training session. So, again, you’ll need patience, since, if he has never been exposed to training before, it will probably be very difficult for him to understand what you want to do.

2. Basic dog tricks 

It’s advisable to start with basic tricks you can teach at home and gradually increase the level of difficulty. Besides, it’s much easier for your dog to learn to sit or paw first than to jump through a hoop or a more complex trick that can frustrate both of you.

3. Don’t confuse your dog 

Use commands consisting of short words such as “come”, “sit” or “lie down”. If you use a long phrase or more than two words, you could confuse your dog.

Also, don’t repeat them constantly at home if you don’t address your dog because you will confuse him whenever he hears them, and of course, don’t change the commands for the same action. For example, if you taught him to sit with “sit”, then don’t change it to Spanish “sentado” or the other way around.

Read our article Do you know how your dog recognizes your voice? It’ll help you understand how their mind works when we talk to them.

4. Different places to train 

Now, if your pet distracts too much, look for very quiet places to start training, such as a room in the house, the garden, or the living room. Preferably where there are fewer distractions.

Then, as he pays more and more attention to you, you can take him to places with a little more stimuli until you get him to listen to you in a park full of other dogs, people, and different sounds.

5. What stimuli are you giving your dog? 

Do you know how to get your dog’s attention properly? You need to know that positive reinforcement is recommended to train a dog so that he associates them with the trick you want to teach him and, of course, to have all his attention.

That is to say, if you have a delicious snack in your hand, your dog will probably not stop looking at you and pay attention to everything you do.

6. Fasting before training 

This has to do with the previous point, it’s better to train your puppy before feeding him his food ration, or when several hours have passed since he was last fed.

The purpose is to make the snack you plan to use in training even more appealing to him since he has an empty stomach.

7. Has your dog got a lot of pent-up energy? 

If your dog has a lot of energy and needs to go for a walk, he is likely to be overly distracted during training as he tries to get all his excitement out. You may have seen him make wild runs from the living room to a bedroom and back again.

Well, this happens because you’re not taking him out for adequate play and exercise time. So you should walk him at least twice a day, and if he’s an energetic dog, he probably needs more time.

Recreational walk 

Now, it’s not just a matter of taking him for a quick walk or releasing him in a park to run around for a while and go home again.

Dogs also need to take their time to sniff the grass, and plants, socialize with other dogs and just get some air, so allow them plenty of time to do this.

8. Consistency in dog training 

Another very important thing is the consistency of your training. If you’re doing it every other day, it’s unlikely that your dog will learn something or that he will look forward to the training sessions to learn and spend time with you.

Create a daily training routine, it can be a few minutes a day during your free time, even if it’s only 5 minutes. Believe me, they will be more rewarding than a session of 15 minutes or more just once a week.

Well, these were my tips. I hope you start applying them because I am sure that, thanks to them, your dog will perform much better in the training sessions!