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Obedience Training: The 'Look' Command

In theory, obedience training can be started with any basic command. However, since these commands often go hand-in-hand it is better to follow a linear approach. The first command you should be teaching your dog is the 'look' command.

The look command is often the best way to get your dog's attention. It is an important first step in dog training. Not only is it a fast way to get him to notice you, it also makes teaching other commands easier.

Most dog trainers have their own versions on how to teach this simple command. Just like people, the best way to get a dog's attention is to call his name. You do not have to shout but you do have to make your voice clear. Keep calling out his name until he comes right up to you.

You may have already noticed but dogs do not have much of an attention span to speak of. Making your dog look at you is easy but maintaining eye contact is not. Dogs are often quick to move on to things that they find more interesting especially when bored. If they are not looking at you there is a good chance that their mind is wandering somewhere else.

Getting your dog to stare at you long enough should be your first priority. The easiest way to do this is by using treats. Stay indoors first for less distraction. Facing your dog, call his attention and give him a treat the moment he looks at you. Let a few seconds pass then call him again. Repeat this process as part of obedience training.

You want to reward your dog only when he looks at you and not the treat. Hold it right in front of your face to let him know where to focus his stare. When he looks right back at you, give him his reward.

When he has mastered this technique indoors, it is time to take it outside. This becomes a different ball game because there will be plenty of things to distract your dog. Keep in mind though that this is the whole point of the exercise. Teaching the look command in this environment gets your dog used to giving his attention to you even with a lot of distractions.

The procedure for teaching your dog outdoors is the same as the one you used indoors. The only difference here is the environment.

As with any other command, you have to be consistent with your method. Do not expect much progress during the first few days of training. Your dog also needs some time to adjust before he gets better. Remember to have lots of patience and never give up when encountering difficulty.

Once your dog gets the hang of it, he will most likely carry this all throughout his life. Nothing can beat the satisfaction of having successfully trained to look at you on command. Do not forget to teach the look command as a vital part of obedience training.

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