Grab and hold your dog's attention with just one simple step, according to this expert trainer

Man teaching his pet dog to give its paw while sitting on porch of his house
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Unless specifically stated, any expert comments quoted in this news piece have been taken directly from the Instagram post cited below.

Do you struggle with your dog's lack of obedience? If so, trying to figure out how to capture and hold their attention is likely high on your list of priorities.

But before you go spending hours researching how to deal with a badly behaved dog, we have good news — your dog's refusal to do what you ask of them is not because they're deliberately trying to be naughty.

Often our dogs get distracted by all the sights, sounds, and smells in their environment, or are simply unaware of what it is we're asking them to do.

Thankfully, expert trainer Adam Spivey, founder of Southend Dog Training, has shared a super helpful video on Instagram where he reveals the very simple way you can get your dog to pay attention to you.

Read on to find out what it is...

Whether you're wracking your brains as to the reasons why your dog's recall isn't reliable or your pup won't stop jumping up on guests, Spivey says the answer to more obedience lies in getting your dog to make eye contact with you.

"It's so simple, but many of us don't do it," Spivey explains. 

"All you need to do to begin with is simply get your dog to give you eye contact before they get anything fun or exciting."

This is a great tip if you want to really sharpen your dog's focus and make yourself the most important thing in the room — and Spivey has lots of ideas for when you can use it.

"Before you go for a walk, have your dog sit there, wait for it to check in with you and then go for a walk.

"If you let your dog play with other dogs, before unclipping that lead, ask the dog to sit, wait for it to check in with you and then let it go so that the dog understands that in order for it to play with that other dog, it first has to pay attention to you," Spivey explains.

It's also a great tool to use before putting your dog's dinner down in front of them.

The more your dog understands that giving you eye contact results in it getting all the fun and exciting things it wants, the more it's going to give you its attention.

"Once you have your dog's attention, everything else becomes so much easier to teach them," says Spivey.

For more great solutions to common canine behavioral issues, check out this piece on how to calm down a hyper dog where a behaviorist shares her top tips. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.