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My gundog won’t focus on me when training!

He lives indoors as a pet and has had some lessons from a reputable trainer, which are duplicated in my garden.

When out on walks, I cannot get the dog to focus on me.

He remains on the lead, but will scent the air and pay no attention to me if he gets distracted, especially if he sees another dog.

Praise that is given when he displays correct behaviour is ignored. How do I get the dog to focus on me, or am I expecting too much too soon?

Paul Rawlings
The first part of dog training is to build a close bond with the dog, as without this the dog will be less likely to accept orders.

He is probably bored with the repetition of exercises in the garden and needs to enjoy growing up. He first needs to be your friend, not your servant, and with that in mind you need to build a good relationship in the home and garden.

Take a break from training for a couple of weeks. If you are the only thing of interest in his environment then he will start to focus on you and display good behaviour.

He needs to be really motivated by you, so that he looks to you for guidance.

By using a distraction-free training environment, coupled with positive methods to reinforce the desired behaviour, obedience can be taught in about six weeks, to the point where he should walk to heel, sit and stay – both on and off the lead – without distraction.

Until he is fully focused and obedient in a distraction-free place, you should not venture with him into areas where you will meet people or dogs.