Focus Fun July Week 3

Training Tip and image ..

first of month – challenge instead of topic

goal is 4 skill topics per week

Page LinksTopicMonthly Drill ProgressionTransition GamesRedirect2WINDIGCheck-In RSGPDF Files

Topic –

Topic – How to set up distractions …  sight, smell, noise … sight first … what to do and how to recreate…

Topic –  Working on Sound distractions (DB and barking dogs) Noises … door slams, people yelling etc … what to do and how to recreate…

Topic – Smells and how to deal.  Areas to train potty yards, ideas etc.  NO LEAVE it command.  On leash, scuff foot under dog’s nose .. when he looks up at you, praise and play.



Questions? Ask DebbyQ





Questions? Ask DebbyQ


Visual cue only. I prefer using a signal only.  Hahaha.  In order for of my dog to see the cue, he has to be looking and watching me.   :>)

  • Keep your hand low when presenting your thumb making the transition to no verbal easier for your dog.
  • Present your thumb cue and whisper your command.
  • Continue to whisper until your dog becomes proficient at the TT with no verbal.
  • Only when your dog is proficient with the TT signal, should you raise your hand to a comfortable position.

Adding motion.   nextweekjuneweek2

Until now, we have been training in a stationary position.  For this step, we will add back in the verbal cue word, and the treat in the hand, to simplify adding movement for your dog.

  • Review the thumb touch steps before beginning to add motion.
  • Have a treat in your TT hand closest to your dog.
  • With your dog at your right or left side, begin slowly walking forward.
  • As you move forward with your dog, present your thumb low, and quietly say your cue word.
  • Reward and praise your dog for the touch.
  • Only increase the height of your thumb, or weaning off of a treat or verbal, as your dog becomes confident and is consistently touching your thumb.

Proofing the Thumb Touch.

Once your dog will touch your thumb/hand while standing or in motion start adding new easy distractions to test your dog’s knowledge of the skill.

  • Test your dog’s knowledge on your right and left side.
  • Practice at different paces, i.e., walk at slow, normal or a jog.
  • Walk your dog through an open ring gate and do a Thumb Touch in the middle of the gate.
  • Stand or walk next to a person or a dog asking for a Thumb Touch.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Your dog shows no interest and will not touch the back of your hand.  Put a dab of peanut butter (PB) on the back of your hand.  Lower your hand so your dog can easily lick the PB off.  Test to see if your dog will touch your hand.  If so, continue with fundamentals above.  If not spend more time with the PB.  :>)
  • Your dog seems confused when you are training this game.  Make sure you are putting your signal hand behind your back or at your side BEFORE presenting the cue.  Wait a moment, and then present your thumb to your dog again, and say your “cue word” as bumps your thumb.
  • Your dog will not touch your thumb on a signal only.  Keep your hand low when beginning to wean off verbal command.  Over many repetitions, gradually wean off using your verbal touch command and make the cue just the “presentation” of your thumb.


VIDEO NOTES: In this video, Karrde and I are training the TT.  First, he is showing how he touches the back of my hand/thumb.  My hand is held low, and we work with him on both my right and left sides.  Then, leaving my hand lower, we begin to add the TT while we move forward at a slow pace. 


In the next section, Karrde and I work on starting to raise my hand a bit higher, so he has to jump up a bit to TT.   All in all, he does a nice job.

Next, Sly shows how to add the TT with movement.  We move together forward at a slow pace.  When I give the cue, Sly jumps up, and is rewarded for his effort.  Once Sly shows he understands the cue in slow motion, we start working on a signal only and no verbal cue.

Lastly, Sly and I are moving at a normal pace while doing TT.  Remember, when training the TT, to keep your hand low, and raise it as your dog understands the concept.  Make sure that you “present” the signal each time, whether your dog actually touches your hand.  If my dog does not TT, I will simply remove the signal and try again.


Your Task for this Week 




Questions? Ask DebbyQ


Your Task for this Week 

Redirect/WIN is an easy way to redirect your dog from a distracting situation.  

It also helps to teach your dog to focus on you when there is a distraction.   In addition, this is great if your dog reacts in a negative manner to barking dogs or sounds.  Simply do Redirect/WIN.  This skill can take you a long way.


    • Get your dog, a leash, and some yummy treats.
    • With your dog on leash, go to and walk around your front yard.  We want to start with light distractions to teach the proper response.
    • When he is busy sniffing or looking at something interesting, say your “come” command and take a few steps back and away from your dog.

  • Make sure he is distracted!
  • We want your dog to be facing you with his back to the distraction.
  • When your dog comes to you, place your hand in his collar, ask for him to sit, and feed him a number of treats.
  • Release him from the sit and begin walking again.
  • Always reinforce this command by praising your dog as he moves toward you and feeding him high value treats when he gets to you and while he is in a sit.

This is an easy way to redirect your dog from a distracting situation.  Say your dog’s name OR “come” while taking a few steps away from your dog and the distraction.  As soon as your dog turns toward you, reward him with several pieces of “high value” food.  Many times this exercise will defuse an adverse situation.

COMMON ERRORS – Handlers Make

  • Giving your dog too much time to respond to a cue.  Don’t wait to see what happens.  Give your dog a command and expect an immediate response.  If your dog doesn’t respond, take his collar and muzzle and back up and have your dog sit.  Praise calmly.
  • Your dog refuses to turn his back to the distraction.   Progress slowly with this skill and only increase difficulty when your dog is confident and successful.  If the area you have chosen turns out to be too difficult, move away 10-20 feet and try again.   Time and persistence pays off!

Video Notes: This is Poe’s first effort at Redirect/WIN skill.  We stopped and trained at a few places while I was out running errands.  Each session has been just a few minutes.  I would rather spend a few minute at several places rather than all my time in one place.  

Poe picked up on this very well.  Distractions were a bit high for his first attempt, but overall did well.  I would have simplified anytime if I felt what we were doing was too much for him.   When training, I waited until Poe became distracted to practice the Redirect and praised big time while holding his collar.  

We stopped at the vet’s office and got a bit more training in.  This was a great opportunity to show how I address a dog that starts to bark at a stranger.  Redirect and insist he sit in front.  We will definitely continue to work on this.  



Questions? Ask DebbyQ

DIG – toward wall



Remember that distractions are an best time to turn what could be a “negative” experience into a “positive” one.  Be PROACTIVE!

Steps to Success ~

This week you will be using a person standing/sitting or a person moving towards you as the distraction. Do not forget to continue working on the distractions (barriers) that you used in week 1 and try new barriers to ensure that your dog learns to generalize the training concept.


For this week recruit a friend to help you or go to a store.  If you train by yourself use a parking lot or ball park where people are walking around.

  • Start with your dog in a stand, sit or fall into heeling/walking from play.
  • While your friend stands still, heel/walk toward her/him.
  • Release and reward your dog BEFORE your dog acknowledges your friend.
  • Repeat several times rewarding your dog before he acknowledges your friend each time.
  • Now, move towards a moving person. Start with your dog in a stand, sit or fall into heeling from play.
  • Ask your friend to slowly walk towards you as you heel/move towards her/him.
  • Release and reward your dog BEFORE your dog looks at your friend.
  • As your dog becomes comfortable and confident, have your friend move away from you, then alongside you, then at right angles to you, etc. Some dogs are more sensitive to people walking next to them or behind them rather than towards them. Repeat this sequence until your dog is confident. This may mean practicing many repetitions in several training sessions.



Repeat moving towards your friend until your dog is confident. This may mean practicing many repetitions in many training sessions as well as a number of different people.

  • As you move closer to your friend over many training sessions, watch your dog for lack of focus, or signs of worry and stress (lip licking, pacing, ears held back, or a glazed look on his face). Be sure to release your dog BEFORE you see any of these signs.
  • Repeat the steps listed above with any “new” Examples may be people, chairs, jumps, fences, etc.
  • Keep in mind that an old distraction in a new place should be treated as a “new”
  • If you run into or knock down a fence, jump, person, or other object while training or proofing, immediately praise, reward and release your dog. Tell your dog “JACKPOT” then have a party with loads of great treats or a super game of tug.
  • Learn to read your dog. If he makes a mistake, is he afraid, or is he blowing you off? Does he know the skill? Being able to answer these questions will enable you appropriately act and teach your dog to “how to” be successful in any situation.
  • Once your dog understands how to “win” at the game of distraction work, utilize attention and heeling games” to help your dog stay focused and motivated.
  • Use a consequence (the “U-Missed Itt” game) when your dog is not giving 100% effort or loses attention. Tell your dog to “get it” when he is not looking or has gotten distracted. The second he looks back or focuses on you, start to tease him and say something like “ha ha you missed it.” Remember to be theatrical with the toy or treat but don’t let him have it. Repeat the skill that he lost focus and reward him if he gives more effort and focus.

DIG training is a lengthy process. If you try to rush or take shortcuts, you run the risk of creating a worried dog lacking confidence and enthusiasm.

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Your Task for this Week 




Questions? Ask DebbyQ


video and post a training session adding RSG

Your Task for this Week 




Questions? Ask DebbyQ

PDF Files useful for this week

Focus Fun A-Z 2023-Training-Log-______ Week-


Questions? Ask DebbyQ