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Emotion control & focus


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Hello, this is my first post. I have a 5 month Border Collie puppy that is excellent on everything BUT she has a lack of emotional control and a very low focus. With this I mean that we can be playing with her or training her and everything is OK until a bird, car, bike or runner comes nearby.

 

How can we (my wife and I) help our puppy to improve on this?? we try several games to be very attractive to her, we train her in low and medium "busy" scenarios, on the walks we recall her whenever we see she is loosing the focus on us, etc.. but the improvement is quite slow if any.

 

Thank you very much for your answer.

 

Kind regards!

 

Roberto

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it's kinda like saying i want my 2 yr old child to learn calculus. :D she's still a baby, it's just going to take time and practice. be consistent and when you see attention is fading, do something else like play. always try to end on a positive and always try to end before you lose focus. keep it fun!

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I agree - it's sort of like asking a 3-year-old to sit quietly at a desk in school all day long!

 

Choose your battles! Don't worry so much about whether your pup gets distracted whenever something REALLY interesting appears while your pup is out on a walk. At that age you are guaranteed to encounter distractions too seductive for them to ignore. I used to have a lot of trouble with our pup when I was leaving my office - every now and then, we'd walk out of our building to find ourselves in the midst of 20-odd young (< 10 year-old) children running around screaming and bouncing balls. Duncan would immediately go into "crouch, I WANT that ball, I WANT to help chase things" mode, and would pull on the leash.

 

A year or so later, he's gotten MUCH better. He'll look hard at the kids but when I say "LEAVE IT" he knows to ignore it and continue walking without pulling. We spent a lot of the intervening year working on impulse control "games" under circumstances where I knew he would succeed. Start easy - have your pup "stay" while someone else bounces a ball at a distance, for example. And give frequent "brain breaks" - throw the ball to them and let them play with it every now and then. Eventually increase the duration of the distraction, and bring the distraction closer (bounce the ball closer to him). And introduce distractions in different setting - perhaps at first indoors while your pup is doing a "down stay", then make it more difficult with an indoors "stand stay", then intersperse this with one person introducing a distraction while your pup is "heeling" outdoors in front of your house... It will take a while, but eventually they can lie down, off-leash, at a soccer game without your worrying that they might charge onto the field. Or they can walk nicely on-leash even when squirrels practically run over their toes. Be patient, and try to set them up for success - don't push things to the point of failure.

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