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‘This Way’: How to teach your dog to ignore something

Dogs have a great sense of smell and like to stick their noses into most things including a
good smell, a passing dog or human, or something more unpleasant. Teaching them a
simple cue word to get them to leave what they have found and follow us is really useful.
This can also be useful, when your dog looks like they may be wanting to interact with a
dog or human who doesn’t want to be interacted with. ‘This way’ also helps with dropped
items or things we do not wish our dogs to get a hold of and it can help us move our dogs
away from things that may be worrying them, without having to drag them away, further
increasing their worry, by teaching them that following us is rewarding. Have your treats
and clicker/marker word ready.
STEP 1: Start with your dog on their lead by your side. Now, start walking forwards a few
steps and then turn back on yourself to move in the opposite direction. Lure your dog with
a treat to follow you. Once they do use your clicker or marker word and reward. Repeat this
5 times.
STEP 2: Once you have lured your dog with food successfully five times, now try and do the
same but without the food in your hand as a lure. Start walking, then change direction. If
your dog comes with you use your marker word and reward. Repeat this 5 times.
STEP 3: This time as you turn and face your new direction, say ‘This Way’! If they come with
you use your marker or clicker and then reward. Repeat this five times.
STEP 4: Now we want to start introducing some distractions and making it harder for your
dog. Practice in the home and garden first and once you feel like they understand what is
being asked of them, you can try it again but with some of their toys down on the floor to
distract them. Once they are getting it with distractions inside the home, you can then
begin to try it outside in the “real world”.
● Use your body and voice to excite them if need be to really encourage them to
change direction and come back to you. As they follow, praise them and give them a
● If your dog doesn’t seem to understand what is being asked, go back to the luring
stage a couple more times.
● Once your dog is ready, you can take it outside in the real world with all the
interesting smells, humans and other dogs. Be aware you may have to use a more
valuable reward when taking it outside with more distractions.
If you need further help, you can find a dog trainer by copying and pasting the link below
into your web browser:
Jade Spiro BSc 2022