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There are several reasons why dogs may struggle with attention both at shows and in real life scenarios, but there are three reasons that are most common. The first is the environment. If there are more interesting things or it’s a busier environment than the dog is used to it can be very challenging for your dog to choose to pay attention to you, even if you’ve done some attention or name response work in the past. The second is for emotional reasons. If the dog is feeling worried, overwhelmed, or over-excited focusing on anything but the object of those feelings is almost impossible for the dog.  The last, and what is often the case, is that we just haven’t trained this skill to the level that we think we have. Dogs need for us to practice each skill in a variety of new environment in order to truly “get it.” If the only place we’ve done attention work is at home or another familiar environment, chances are that the dog will struggle at first somewhere new.

In all of these cases, a little distance from the distractions, some high value rewards, and a bit of patience can go a long way towards creating a dog that is attentive and ready to work everywhere you go.

This is a great distance to begin working for a dog that is highly distracted by people.