Day 2 of ”7 things to work on when the weather is bad” is all about focus. I find teaching the dog to focus to be very useful. I have a cue that means look ahead and pay attention to what’s happening out in the field. My verbal cue is ”focus” – look ahead because it’s almost your turn.
My young dog Quling has many skills but his marking abilities has never been that good. We’ve really had to work on that and he’s a lot better at it now. Tassla on the other hand has always put almost every retriever we’ve met to shame J A very important skill in order to be a good marker is of course to be able to focus properly, without being distracted.
Focus exercises are beneficial in general, particularly for dogs that need to settle down a bit. Focus exercises lead to calmness. They also lead to a dog being able to focus on the correct thing and not becoming distracted by things in the environment.
A really good foundation-foundation to have, in my book!
My favourite focus exercise comes from the great obedience trainer Maria Brandel and it really builds the dog’s ability to focus. It might seem too simple to do much, but it really is genius 🙂
Here’s a video from today’s training:
I add the cue ”focus” when I perceive that the dog can perform the behaviour reasonably well. In the end, you’ll see me place my hand on Quling, pushing him forward. He gets his ok cue when he pushes back towards my hand.
It gets a bit slow for a video, but I think that the dog should be able to focus for at least 30 seconds in this exercise (and of course even longer than that is fine). As the dog becomes more skilled, I gradually increase the level of distraction.
And no, my dogs don’t stare at the ground when I cue ”focus”; naturally they are fully aware of where the fun is! 🙂
If you’re feeling inspired, please upload a video or photo from your training in the comment section. We loved watching your photos and videos yesterday (so brave and generous to send them!) and we’re thrilled that so many of you posted something. Please let us know how you’re doing in your training and naturally you can post a video from yesterday’s training today as well 🙂
There’ll be a new challenge tomorrow! Just as with the other ones, I think it’s on something that all dogs can benefit from. Join in!