If your dog prefers to follow his own nose while walking the dog rather than paying attention to you, the following orientation training exercises will help you. Your four-legged friend learns to follow you, which is indispensable in situations that are dangerous or confusing.
Orientation training: reward eye contact
One of the most important exercises in orientation training is eye contact. Your dog shouldn't just walk on it when walking the dog, but should reassure you from time to time that you agree with what it does. You reward your four-legged friend every time he turns to you and looks in your direction.
You can do this either with a treat or - even better - with a marker word or clicker. When he looks at you, click or call the marker word or throw him a treat. In this way, in the sense of positive reinforcement, you encourage your dog to look for you and to wait for your consent.
Exercises while walking the streets with hiding
Your dog only pays attention to you when you call him, otherwise does he do what he wants? Then play hide and seek with him when you go for a walk. For safety, it is better with these orientation training exercises if you have a second person with you. So you don't have to worry about your four-legged friend running away as soon as you hide. In the beginning, ideally, keep it as simple as possible. For example, stand close behind a tree trunk while your dog is watching, so that he can see you.
Your companion now requests your woof to look for you. As soon as your four-legged friend comes to you, joyfully praise him and reward him. You can gradually increase the level of difficulty by hiding better and further away. If that works well, try the game without your dog seeing where you're going. For example, take a moment when you take a walk in which your four-legged friend shines with your thoughts somewhere else and hide. Wait until he finds you and don't call or give a sign and reward him. If this is too risky for you alone, ask an accompanying person to keep an eye on your fur nose.
Orientation training for dog and owner
If your dog does what he wants without paying attention to you, it is time for orientation training ...
Practice surprising changes of direction while walking
For the exercises with a change of direction, you should choose an area where you can go for a walk, where there are not so many walkers and no danger spots such as busy streets or the like are nearby. It is also good if the path does not go straight, but has different branches. Your dog runs a bit ahead and you turn without warning or go in the opposite direction - but always keep an eye on your four-legged friend or ask an accompanying person to take care of him during the exercises, perhaps to hold him on a long towline.
If he happily walks away from you without noticing your absence, stop and wait. If he turns around and seeks your eye contact, you can proceed carefully, very slowly, so that your dog can catch up with you again. Praise him and be happy when he is with you and then continue walking normally. Only if he doesn't notice the change of direction at all should you call him. If your dog has not yet learned to walk without a leash, you can also practice changing directions with a leash. This should not be too short, at least two meters long. As soon as your four-legged friend starts to ignore you, give his name briefly and turn in a different direction. Then go a bit - but not so far that the line begins to tension - and wait. If your dog looks over to you or even comes to you, he will get a reward.