Increasing concentration

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by szecsuani, Dec 22, 2007.

  1. szecsuani Experienced Member

    Hey everyone!
    I just wanted to ask you, if you know any kind of exercices, that improve concentration.
    Since there is a canine freestyle competition in january, that I would be able to go to, I would really need this.
    When we are trying to make a "chain" of tricks, to make it look a littlebit like a dance, ahe looses her attantion after about 3-4 tricks.
    Do you have any ideas?

  2. CollieMan Experienced Member

    How old is she? How long has she been training? Where are you training her when she loses her concentration? All vital bits of information I'm afraid.

    On a side-note, I think it's best to enter competitions and shows when your dog is ready, not hurry to make your dog ready for competitions and shows. The latter can put too much pressure on both you and the dog.
  3. szecsuani Experienced Member

    How old is she? 2 years old
    How long has she been training? about half a year now, I started training her when we adopted her
    Where are you training her when she loses her concentration? Mostly at home or in the park. We live in a flat, so we don't have a garden:msnsad:
    At home almost always everything is OK, most of the time, but she has bad days too, so I understand that she can't always concentrate 100%. But in the park she is always looking at other things. She is doing the things I ask her, but never really pays attention. I have already tried more tasty treats, but it didn't really work...
  4. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I would suggest going back to basics. When I first start adding distractions to Mud's new tricks, I take her to a different area than we normally train(a nearby field) with little distraction. That field is actually less distracting than where I usually train her, but since it's a new place, it is in itself a distraction. If she's not paying attention very well, we play. We run around or play fetch or anything. Mud's one of those dogs that listens better when she's excited because she focuses her attention on me. Then, if she's still not getting it, I do the same things I did when I first started teaching the trick. Then I invited a friend and his dog over, and did the same. Then they came over and a stray happened to tag along. Then I took her to a small park right by a railroad track with moderate traffic.
    For instance, on Mud's spins, I of course had only taught her to do one at a time. To get multiple spins, I went back to luring her around, slowly, and just asked for more than one spin. After she was doing this with ease, I gave her the cue twice, and she spun twice. Now she's doing three spins, quickly and smoothly. Don't expect her to get everything in succession immediately. Just imagine for a little while that she doesn't know the tricks. Go back to basics, but do the tricks in succession. First just two tricks, then three, and so on. Even though she does well at home, just go back to "re-teaching" her the tricks as if she didn't know them. She should recognize the luring movements and pick up quickly.
    With Mud, for an easier example, I didn't just ask for sit and down in succession quickly. I lured her into a sit, then down, then sit, then down, slowly asking for each quicker until she understood what I wanted of her. Not sure that I've explained this very well. o-0 You also try the "look at me" lesson here on DTA--I use the command "pay attention." You can also use "focus," "concentrate," etc. Anything you want really. You can use this to get her attention on you so that you can train. You said she loses focus after three or four tricks. Okay, so let's say you're asking for spin, back up, sit up(beg), and gets distracted when you ask for a figure-eight. Just go straight to luring her through the figure-eight. Eventually she'll be able to keep her focus for longer.
    For the record, I agree with CollieMan. If your dog is completely ready for a competition, your first will be much less stressful for the both of you. I know you're tempted to just dive right in, but make sure you're both ready for it. I don't feel like I've explained this very well, so if I left any blank areas feel free to send me a message. =)
  5. szecsuani Experienced Member

    You explained it really well!
    This really didn't pop into my head. I tried a few things, like doing little breaks, and soe things like this, but I never thought of luring:msngrin:
    Thank you!
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    You're very welcome. ^^ Good luck, and keep us posted on how it's going. =) Have fun!
  7. bipa New Member

    This technique might not work with your dog, but a friend of mine swears by it. When progressing into places with more distractions, he gets something really smelly like very old blue cheese or Appenzeller and puts it in his pocket. (His dog loves cheese). The dog will rarely take his eyes off the guy, hoping to get some of that stinking cheese. Just make sure that you're wearing old clothes! :dogtongue2:
  8. szecsuani Experienced Member

    This might work too, becouse my dog loves everything that has something to do with food.
    I may try that one too.
  9. missouri gal New Member

    Stinking Blue Cheese???? Ugh!! I'd rather smell like fish!! LOL!!
    I stumbled upon a recipe for Liver Treats-----I made it for all the dogs Christmas Eve Morning----They went crazy just smelling it cook in the microwave...let alone wanting to do *anything* for a bit of it!! It is really like a liver biscotti treat--very dry, but not too crumbly!! Works great! I'll try to post it soon!

    For now, I'm going to sleep since I've brought in the new year with you all!!!!
  10. xsara New Member

    I teach every trick at home first and then slowly add distractions. Outside I use multiple rewards: dry food for normal reward, toy for very good reward and tuna pate for jackpot (this way she's not too distracted by the smell of tuna and performs her best to get it from my pocket). I like using better rewards for performing with distractions because it's easy to get her attention with food and because I think she deserves it since it's more difficult to stay concentrated with all of the things that are going around.

    Another thing: if you know your dog looses concentration after 3-4 tricks, don't do so many tricks. I never train so long that it gets boring (and I also have a breed that people find hard to motivate and keep concentrated). I always finish when it's the most fun and she just can't wait for the next lesson. It's better to have several shorter lessons than one very long. Wait until she does someting very well, then reward a lot and finish.
  11. szecsuani Experienced Member

    I never keep a training too long, about 5-6 minutes.
    I want to train her to do loads of tricks after eachother, becouse we will need that for canine freestyle.
  12. xsara New Member

    You'll get there, give her time. Xsara used to loose concentration after a few minutes. The situation is much better now (we can get through a 45min long class), but I still never work until she would get bored. Even if we are in a class or a payed seminar. I prefer taking her away for some time to play with her or let her rest and come back later. I don't know your dog so it's hard for me to say why she looses concentration, but Xsara's reason was that what was going on around her was in her opinion more interesting. So I had to become more interesting for her and convince her working with me is what she wants.

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