Is your dog easily distracted? This expert’s three easy-to-train behaviors will help them stay focused

French Bulldog exploring bluebell woods
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Does your dog get easily distracted by all the different sights, smells, sounds, people, and other dogs that they encounter on their daily walk? If so, you're not alone!

As you've likely already discovered, these distractions could well be the main reason why your dog's recall isn't reliable. And letting your pup engage with all of them all of the time is one of the most common loose leash walking mistakes

Thankfully, there is a way to help your dog stay focused on you when the two of you are out and about, and according to expert trainer Amelia Steele, it all comes down to teaching them a particular set of behaviors.

You can check out Steele's handy Instagram video below where she demonstrates each of these behaviors, or read on for a summary...

1. Teach your dog to jump up onto something: "This is a great way to put a barrier between your dog and whatever is distracting them, and it's a great way to combat off-leash dogs charging over as well," says Steele. 

2. Practice a down-stay: "Getting your dog to move off to the side and then lie down and stay while distractions pass by is a great way to teach them to focus on you, and it also helps to get them out of the way so that you don't have other dogs randomly lunging at you, or the other way around."

3. Teach them the middle: "Getting your dog to go between the middle of your legs while distractions pass by is a great way to keep their focus, keep things nice and engaging, and it also helps to keep them out of the way. So again, great for busy spaces," explains Steele. 

We recommend applying Steele's tips with consistency over several months. If you're not seeing positive changes in your dog's behavior after that time, it's worth reaching out to a professional trainer for advice. 

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.