How to Command Your Dog's Attention

Ó2000 Canine College of California

So you want your dog to listen to you? Respect you? Love you?

Who doesn't?

If you want your dog to be attentive and well behaved, there are a few steps you, the owner, need to take to help your dog on their path to obedience.

1) No Free Lunch! :

a) Make a list of everything your dog likes (food treats, play toys, car rides, walks, a scratch on the chest, etc.) These things are the dog's unconditioned reinforcers. What that means is these are privileges your dog expects, when they should in fact be rewards they earn. Think what would happen if you gave a child everything they want without requiring anything in return. That child would become a spoiled little brat. So will your dog is you neglect this rule. A sample list of a dogs unconditioned reinforcers may look like:

i)  Playing Frisbee
ii) Fetching a tennis ball
iii) Food treats
iv) Going for a walk
v) Going for a ride in the car
vi) Having his ears rubbed
vii) Having his chest scratched


b) These “goodies” should not be given for free. Instead, give your dog an obedience command before giving him anything he likes.
c) This is probably the most important concept we can pass along to our students.

2) Be consistent !
a)  Dogs don't understand “sometimes” It's all or nothing.
b)  Remember an untrained person can't train you.

i)  You are responsible for your dog's behavior
ii)   You are responsible for making sure your dog is on the right track
iii)   You are responsible for asking for help if you need it!

Canine College of California

“Turning Pests into Pets”

(310) 519-8221


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January 2005 Newsletter



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