Dog's Best Friend: Getting Jack's Attention

I find it endlessly interesting watching Cottonwood Ranch and Kennel’s Ted Hoff at work with dogs. The underlying technique is almost always the same: patience; reward in the form of physical and audible praise, but only for correct performance. Ted doesn’t use treats in his training, but he also doesn’t indiscriminately offer praise. The praise comes when it is earned.

In this week’s video, Ted is working with Jack, a mature Labrador Retriever. Jack is not unruly; he just has a problem with giving his undivided attention. Ted describes this as just another avoidance technique. So the first job of the trainer is to get Jack’s trust, then it is necessary to insist that the dog not break eye contact.

As this training session progresses, Ted makes sure that Jack’s focus is on his trainer, and gives praise for proper behavior. And all this is done gently. As I said, it is interesting to watch.

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