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One of the most effective means of re-focusing your dog is to “counter condition”.  This involves teaching your dog to focus on to you and turn away from the distraction in return for a high value reward “treat or toy”.

Teaching your dog a new powerful behaviour will give you the control and confidence you need but POWERFUL is the key word.  The behaviour that you use as the alternative needs to be more powerful than the inappropriate things he wants to do, which is why we call it a “POWER CUE”.

While this training is going on try to avoid the problem situations if possible because every time the problem arises you are in effect “conditioning it”.  Over time your dog has learned bad behaviour, but it has been accepted.

The first stage is to get the right reward

Find a toy or high value treat that your dog would sell his soul for and only make this available when you are there to interact with your dog.  Give this object a new and exclusive word that you will only use in this context and this word will become your “POWER CUE”.

Create the desire to interact

Make the reward exciting, move it around, tease your dog with it but keep the game close to you and keep the sessions short, leaving your dog wanting more.

  • Repeat every day and ensure that you always finish the game.  Now you have your dog interacting with you, introduce your “POWER CUE” with an excited voice.

  • Start by holding back the reward using your voice saying things like “what’s this” or “are you ready”, then, as you release the reward, say your “POWER CUE” so that he links it with the excitement of the game and ultimate reward.

  • You will reach the stage where your dog will turn to you to have a game whenever he hears the “POWER CUE”. 

  • You can then start to work closer to the things that would normally cause him to react.  By using your “POWER CUE” you will be able to turn him away before he has time to think about reacting.

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