Teaching Your Dog to Pay Attention

October 4th, 2022 by Marlene Ring


images (1)Teaching your dog to pay attention when asked may be the most important thing you will ever teach them.

A dog that can pay attention when asked can probably walk on a leash and come as well.


Here are some Tips to teach your dog to “Look at you and wait for further instructions”


Step 1.   Getting Your Dog to Focus

images (3)While your dog is looking at you, say the dog’s name in a happy voice….click (yes) and treat.

Do this many times to condition the dog to the reward marker and the treat.

Once the dog seems to understand this fun game and loves to play you will see an improved focus in your dog.

Step 2.   Getting Focus in the Real World

images (14)Now try this when the dog is not looking at you. Say the name and the dog should look at you for the click & treat.

If the dog doesn’t look at you, try getting the dog’s attention by using a kissy or clicky noise. When the dog looks, click & treat.


Step 3.  Holding the Focus

images (12)As the dog’s skill improves, ask him to hold the focus. Click & treat at random intervals, this will teach the dog that the rewards keep coming.

Remember, our goal is always a “well behaved dog”.

Many people teach their dog a “Watch” or “Attention” cue, this puts a cue on holding the focus.


It may seem like an insignificant command to have your dog look at you when you call their name. But there is a lot more to it than that.

images (18)Having the ability to get his attention at any moment no matter what is going on around them serves many purposes.

What if your dog sees a squirrel and runs after it toward the street? He needs to be conditioned to immediately stop and look at you when he hears you call his name.

SnakeWhat if he does NOT see that snake that is curled up 3 feet from where he is sniffing? Instantly getting his attention to wait for a command could save his life.

Looking at YOU when he is with the vet instead of focusing on what is being done to him is ‘necessary’. Especially if he is hurt. He could actually hurt himself worse if he struggles.


download (3)You are your dog’s guardian and protector.

Control of your dog in ANY situation is the MOST important command you can ever teach them.



Start building a better communication and relationship with your dog!