The first step in keeping your dog’s attention is to teach him his name. As he hears his name called you should say to him “Good dog” with excitement and happiness in your voice and smiling so he sees the expression on your face.
Our dogs learn body language quickly, so it is very important that your dog can see this positive reaction from you. This will give him the foundation he needs to realize his name is important. If your dog does not come to you at first make noises like clapping your hands, or kissing noises and repeat his name with excitement. When your dog looks at you wiggle one of his favorite toys and coax him to come over to you. Never yell or show him aggressive behavior this will only hinder him from being at ease with this training.
When he does comes over try to pet him. Some dogs shy away from being touched on the top of their heads, if you see him slouch or back away be careful not to scare him and try to pet him on his back or neck. Rewarding him after he comes over to you with a yummy treat that he loves and playing a game that he enjoys like tug of war, or retrieving a ball will make this learning process a success.
You need to be sure your dog is looking at you so you know that he is paying complete attention before you call his name. Practice indoors so your dog has nothing to distract him from you. Then go outside of the house and be sure you get his attention by staying closer to your dog. Each time you practice, move farther away always making sure your dog is looking at you as he moves towards you. When you are out in the yard and your dog is interested in looking at something or sniffing, his complete focus is on that and he will tend not to hear you call him.
Building good focus begins when you reward your dog after he looks at you when you say his name.
Teaching your dog the word “come” is a very important step. When he does come over to you tell him to sit. This is the next step teaching him to focus and pay attention to you. Using the word “come” should never be used in a situation that is negative. If your dog does not enjoy his bath, never tell him to “come” and put him in the tub, because he will always associate the bath with the word “come” and will ruin this training.
“Let’s Go” is a good word to use when you want your dog to come and walk with you, go into the house or outside in the yard or to go into the car. Using special treats that your dog loves or showing them their favorite toys will make it easier for them to understand this command.
You will notice that your dog knows his name has meaning when you first see him coming to you before you say the word “come.” Always separate the commands a little bit apart from each other, so your dog knows the difference between his name and the word “come.”
Each time your dog succeeds with this training you should reward him in ways that he will feel special and happy as he sees your expression and the positive tone in your voice. It also shows your dog that when he comes to you great things happen and that this experience has made a special bond between both of you.
Please consult the services of a Professional Dog Trainer, Behaviorist or Veterinarian before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.