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Error-Free Puppy Raising® Tips

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Getting Started Week 49 - Tunnel Vision

A common mistake people make when training dogs is not training them to ignore distractions.
You can play games that teach your puppy to put on the blinders and ignore distractions. You want your puppy to pay attention to you on cue. For example, you are on a walk and you do not want your puppy to see the cat run across the street or the squirrel run up the tree.

Watch Me:  From a "sit" position, hold a treat in front of your puppy's nose to get undivided attention.  Now draw an imaginary straight line from your pups eyes to yours. Your pup's eyes will follow the food. As you move the food toward your eyes, cue, "Watch me," in a happy voice. At the moment your pup gives you any eye contact, animate your eyes and praise. Try to deliver the treat while your pup is still giving you eye contact. If not, your praise and animation followed by the food treat will still help your pup to learn.

Keep Away: 
Put your puppy on leash. Place one of his/her favorite treats on the floor just out of reach but in sight. Now, see if you can be more exciting than the treat! Squat down in a friendly position and clap your hands, slap your sides, make smoochy sounds, and anything else to get your puppy to leave the treat and come check you out! If your puppy comes away from the treat to you, get very excited and show your appreciation, then allow your pup to get the toy as the reward for coming away from it when you called. Do not say the word, "come" during this game.

  Put your puppy is a sit-stay and put a treat on the floor just out of reach. Then, cue Puppy to "Watch," putting your hand to your eyes.  If your puppy looks away from the treat and gives you eye contact, praise enthusiastically, and release your puppy from the sit-stay. Use a release word, such as "at ease" or "done" or "okay" or give a cue such as "take it" or "vacuum" to mean it's okay to eat the treat now.



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