June 07, 2011

What is the best way to get a dog's attention?

According to animal behaviorist John Bradshaw, author of "Dog Sense," 
The best way to get a dog's attention is to give it three treats and then refuse to give it the fourth. And you can calm and get the attention of all sorts of unruly dogs by doing that very, very quickly, and then once you've got their attention, half the battle is won.
Bradshaw does not subscribe to the Cesar Millan approach to dog training, which is based on the concept of the alpha-wolf. Like all the dog trainers I ever worked with, he is firmly in support of using positive reinforcement (and the withdrawal thereof) as the most important training tool. 
In place of the rigid, often violent, alpha-led wolf societies we once believed produced the modern dog were actually cooperative, familial groups. And in place of the choke-chain school of negative reinforcement should be a training program based primarily on the positive....To say that you don't use punishment when you're using these positive reinforcement techniques is nonsense. You inevitably do. What you don't do is hurt the dog. There doesn't seem to me to be any need for it. Dogs can understand all sorts of things without having to be hurt to make them understand.
So, go ahead, let your dog run in front of you while you're going for a walk, let him squeeze himself through the door before you open it. Let him be playful and enthusiastic. But don't forget those treats, at least four of them -- because number four is the one that will make your dog learn.

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