Attention Behaviors: Be Your Dog’s Leader

It’s always a joy to see a new dog in our kennel whose overall behavior is better than average. That is exactly what happened with my new friend Leo, an adolescent chocolate Labradoodle.

Too many times a family adapts to a new dog in their home rather than adapting the dog to the home. The family must take the leadership role to proactively shape the dog’s behavior to be an asset to their household. It quickly became obvious that Leo is a product of such parental leadership! My goal was to sharpen Leo’s skills with some attention behaviors training.

It’s no accident when you witness an attentive and well-behaved dog regardless of circumstance. Whether it be your children or your new dog, there are no parenting days off during their formative time. That is why attention behaviors are a good place to start your training.

When practicing attention behaviors focus on:

  • Attentiveness – natural attentiveness to you is key
  • Willingness – willingness to do as you ask, when you ask 
  • Calmness – when your dog is calm is when he/she gets your attention
  • Compliance – when your dog is compliant is when he/she gets reinforced and rewarded

Consistently practice and reinforce these behaviors and you will see results. When working with your dog remember to relax and find your next thank you—that’s the joy in training!

"In the words of world-renowned dog trainer Sean O'Shea, “work harder on yourself than you do on your dog," because the key to turning around a behavioral issue or accomplishing your training goals is not an "easier" dog or a lesser goal — "it's a better you""

Are you interested in learning all 7 Core Disciplines of our Dog Training Methods?


Meet Bart and Gabe, four-month-old mini Australian Shepherd littermates. I recently worked with these pups on what we call “walking in brace,” or walking side by side. This can be...
The beautiful dog I would like to highlight this month is a one-year-old German Shepherd female named Riekee. Her owner Josee reached out for assistance — she was afraid to...
Meet Enzo, a very excitable and hyper 10-month-old chocolate Lab whose owners wondered, could he possibly go from rowdy to relaxed?...