Trainer reveals how to get your dog’s attention in a loud environment (and it's very straightforward!)

Group of friends eating with their dog
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Have you ever been somewhere noisy with your dog and noticed that it’s more difficult to get their attention? It’s not their fault of course — there are plenty of distractions — but it can still be a little frustrating for you as a pet parent.

You don’t want to hurt or scare them, and adding to the noise by shouting their name might not be the best idea, so what can you do? As it turns out, there’s something simple you can try, and all it involves are some of the best dog treats.

Fortunately, professional dog trainer and behavioral consultant Amelia Steele, or Amelia the Dog Trainer, has offered some advice in a new Instagram post. It’s easier than you might think to get your dog’s attention in a noisy setting while keeping them feeling happy and safe too. 

“If you have a dog that’s really easily distracted by things going on in the environment, one of the most useful things you can introduce is what we call a tactile cue,” says Steele. This is a small tap on your pup’s bottom or leg to get their attention quickly and easily without calling them repeatedly.

You can give your dog a gentle tap, in the same way as you might tap a friend on the shoulder to get their attention, and then give them a treat for engaging with you. 

“So when she’s super distracted and I’m really struggling to get her attention, all I need to do is a gentle tap on her leg,” Steele summarizes in the video. She explains further in the caption that this is a useful tool for training, as adding more noise can overwhelm them. And, of course, “we definitely don’t want to yank on their leash or start pulling them around.”

You can combine this advice with your usual training for getting your dog’s attention. You can still train your pup at home or at the park to look at you when you say their name, or to respond to marker words, with plenty of treats on hand, of course! Here are 15 helpful ways to get your dog to come back to you on off-leash walks for some extra tips

If your dog is still a puppy and you’d more advice about how to socialize them and get them used to being around other people (and other pups!) you might find the following article useful: I'm a dog behaviorist and these are my 6 tips for socializing a puppy.

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' golden retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.