It is normal for puppies to lack focus. Like human children they are much more inclined to play around and have fun instead of pay attention.
Unfortunately, unlike with kids, it is much easier for a dog to become disobedient and unable to focus. They do not have the same language processing traits and their learning depends solely on us. This is why attention is often presented as one of the most important factors affecting dog’s ability to learn and how quickly he will do it.
Attention training is the first and basic training that every owner needs to perform with his dog.
During this time dog will learn to respond to his name, to few basic commands and to pay attention when we’re talking. This might not seem as important at first but will become so as dog learn new things and start doing more things.
Attention training is the basis of dog/human communication and as such, we need to pay close attention to it.
Foundations of puppy’s attention training
As I mentioned, this training needs to be done when dog is still a puppy. You can wait for a bit but it shouldn’t be for too long. You see, attention is something that should be developed at early age (like with kids) and if you wait for too long it may backfire.
It is also something that needs to be done before anything else. It is a basis for any other training and definitely a skill which can play a huge part with other forms of learning.
Before the training, it is much better to find a secluded spot. In fact, all your trainings should be done in the same place without outside disturbance. This helps dog acclimatize and to get used to working in the same environment.
Another thing that is general for all the trainings is that they need to be performed with patience and love. One of the worst mistakes that people do is trying to force dog to do something. This is not only counterproductive but can have an extremely bad impact on your relationship. Instead, always try to incentivize your dog with treats and petting.
How to do actual training?
Training needs to be between you and dog. There shouldn’t be any other participants. Anyway, if you manage to teach your dog how to pay attention to you, he will likely pay attention to most people.
Start by calling out his name. Before that, put several “obstacles” around such as toys. As dog will likely go for a toy, you need to find a way to pull him back to you. Best way to go about things is to call his name. This will be the main command and he needs to learn it as soon as possible.
After calling his name for a while, he will eventually look at you. At this point you have to give him a treat. This will stimulate positive behavior. As the time goes by, number of treats will be reduced of course until you completely stop giving him food. Somewhere along the way this will become part of his routine so you won’t have to be too concerned about it.
While he is looking at you, try to talk with him, pet him and generally speaking communicate. This will be entertaining for a while. Your goal is to try to have interactions for as long as possible. When he stops looking at you, call his name and give him a treat once again. This is the best way to improve his focus for a longer time.