Attention training for your dog, made easy: Some simple tips for a lifetime of obedience and fun

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Want a better-behaved dog? Want to wow your friends with an amazingly well-trained best friend? Start with attention training! It’s simple and is the basis for a lifetime of obedience and fun!

To begin, start with some high-value treats (kibble is not your first choice unless your dog is diet restricted), such as string cheese, or cooked chicken, ham (unsalted) homemade treats or the like; something your dog will work for with enthusiasm.

Also, if you perform these exercises outdoors, or in a non-secure location, PLEASE use a 6-foot leash and secure collar or, my preference, a harness. Please pay attention to your dog when around distracting environments and please do not use a flexi- or extendable leash. They aren’t safe in groups of people and animals and can cause significant injuries if used improperly.

Verbal praise, consistency – and treats – can make all the difference for you and your dog.

Start by asking for a simple sit. If your dog doesn’t have a trained sit yet, no worries, just get him to stay still in front of you. Step a foot or so back from your dog, and say his name, when he moves toward you, verbally praise quickly with a “yes,” and pop a treat in his mouth. As he responds to you more quickly, you can step a half-foot away and repeat this exercise, asking him to come to you over this distance. Slowly increase your distance until you can do it from a few feet away.

Your next step is to increase duration. This means expecting your dog to wait in his position until you call his name. This will start from your original call of his name, and praise, then treat a foot away from you. The next step is to place the dog in position, stand and wait three seconds, call him, praise, then treat. Increase this to five seconds, call his name, praise and treat, then 10 seconds, etc. Once he will wait for at least 30 seconds, then you can add the distance training in, with the same easy steps. Starting with a longer distance (say another foot) distance, at three seconds, five seconds, etc., till you get to 30 seconds. Add more distance until you have the ultimate distance you choose.

Good luck using this fun and easy technique to start your new training adventure with your dog. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at



About this Author


Lyn Richards Pawlowski


A professional dog trainer since 1992, currently, I’m an assistant Agility trainer at All Dogs Gym, and a mentor for graduating dog trainers from Animal Behavior College. I also train dogs privately at my business DogLogic! Since the early ‘90s I’ve been writing and a published author of dog related-articles and co-wrote part of a book on Great Danes as well. I’m a professional member of the International Association of Canine Professionals, Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and Dog Writers Association of America. I have 2 dogs. Happy my “Schnug” is my Service Dog and current Agility competition dog. My other dog is 1.5 year old adorable Wire Fox Terrier named Pocket, who’s in training to become my Service Dog when Happy retires. Pocket loves training with me, so he’s beginning Agility groundwork classes, and loves the sport!.