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Attention span and distractability

Posted: 30 Aug 2016, 18:06
by Dipsy doodle
Daisy is now 7 months old and I have been working hard with her on general obedience. Without distraction she is very attentive and is able to do all the basic commands and the odd trick like high 5. However, there doesn't need to be much distraction before she loses the plot, loses interest or looks at me like I'm asking for the impossible 'down? Here? Outside? Are you mad!?

She has got a bit better but still during training classes, which are fun and not too pressurised, she is too interested in the floor, dogs, people, or the trainer who she adores.

I Woukd love to hear how other doodles of various ages are doing with their ability to concentrate and ignore distractions. Is their hope and what worked for you?!

Re: Attention span and distractability

Posted: 31 Aug 2016, 08:01
by Sharan
Rudy had a very short attention span, especially during his teenage months, so I would do really short but regular training sessions with him. In his puppy class he would pay attention until a better distraction came his way and then he was off! Or like Daisy he would look at me as if he'd never heard a command before and was shocked I was asking him to do something.
What helped was the command look at me - just click and treat when they look at you and he slowly but surely got it.
That command is invaluable because if any distraction comes he does look at me even now and I have a chance to give him another command - like leave or come here. He still gives me that what are you on about stare from time to time tho :lol:

Re: Attention span and distractability

Posted: 31 Aug 2016, 08:37
by Bid
Yep - a pretty common problem. With any training, we always talk about the three Ds - Distance, Duration and Distraction, and the best thing is to increase them one at a time. Remember that training classes are just for you to pick up on ideas on how to training your dog. The actual training goes on at home and out and about on walks. So for each thing you train, start at home indoors on your own. Then gradually introduce the Ds, for example training a down stay you will first of all get your pup to lie down next to you for about 5 seconds then reward. Then you move a couple of paces away (distance), then wait a little longer(duration), then with someone else in the room (distraction). Only move on when your pup is perfect everytime at that level. Eventually you will have built up to 2 minutes at 20 paces out on walks, but will have done it very slowly over time.