How to teach a dog to concentrate?
A very important factor during training is the level of dog’s concentration. To achieve good results in the learning of tricks and commands, the dog must be attentive to words and actions of a trainer.
Preparing a dog for training
To achieve a high concentration and attention at all times of work, we must clearly let the dog understand when we are working, and when not. We must use a special signal that will inform the dog about the beginning of the session. And complete all the exercises in a small, but obvious break.
As a signal, we can use words, for example, a friendly tone of "start!". The dog should not perform any actions, but eventually, it will understand that the word "start" means the beginning of the training. Later, we can easily bring the dog into a working mood with the help of this command, as it will relate any further work with pleasure.
Also, to achieve a high level of concentration, we must praise the dog when it looks at us. Each time the dog looks in our eyes, we encourage it with a treat. When the dog learns to concentrate well on us, we can praise it less often or praise only for long periods of attention.
Exercises to work on concentration
We keep a treat or toy in the dog's field of sight and with it, we encourage the dog to follow our every move. To make it easier we make a squat so it will be easier for the dog to repeat our actions, and it's easier for us to see how concentrated it is. We must praise the dog for every eye contact. When the dog learns to do the exercise well and keeps eye contact for a long time, it’s possible to start with repeating and pauses.
For our experienced trainers, this exercise isn’t complicated. Now, the dog should remain calm and attention in those exercises will give it a special pleasure and lead to a strong excitement. If the dog loves to bring the ball and refused to start with exercises we can do the following: commands "sit" and "place", then put the ball in a place that is easy to see. We go back to the dog and actively praise it for every look at us. We allow the dog to grab the ball only when it completely settles down.