Benefits of Teaching Your Pup to Focus

Lisa Ullery Gallegos
3 min readFeb 18, 2021


Teaching your dog or puppy to focus on cue, and check-in with you during walks is an excellent behavior to train. If you can’t get your pup to look in your direction, how are you going to get them to do anything else?

There are several other reasons why I highly recommend teaching your pup to focus, which I break down for you below.

Redirect your pup when they’re about to react to another dog or human

Whether your pup is about to react out of excitement or fear, redirecting is an excellent alternate behavior you can teach your pup. This will save you from the embarrassment of your dog barking, or getting your arm yanked off because they want to ‘meet’ their new friend across the street.

It’s a prerequisite to loose leash walking & off-leash time

When your dog is PULLING on the leash, they are not focused on you at all. One of the first steps to loose leash walking is teaching your pup to check in with you. By having awareness of where you are walking, they can adjust their gait to yours.

Once your pup is off-leash, checking in will teach them not to get too far ahead of you.

Focusing is a great alternative to many annoying behaviors

If your pup is able to focus on you, you can use this as an alternate incompatible behavior for a lot of other annoying things they might do.

For example, I was dog-sitting for a Golden Retriever who was OBSESSED with fetch. When I didn’t throw the ball *right away* she would bump my hand with her nose.

By asking for a “watch me” as I prepared to throw the ball, I was able to eliminate that annoying bumping on my hand (it was only cute the first 3 times).

Take good pics of your pup

OK…I know this is a silly one, but if your pup is able to focus and stay still, you’re going to get much better pictures.

Whether you’re trying to get cute photos for Instagram, or you’re just trying to collect good memories with your four-legged BFF, a solid focus cue will up-level your pics.


Unfortunately, a lot of pup parents are excellent at teaching our pups to look at us — it’s KEEPING their attention that can be a challenge.

I talk more about how to properly train/advance basic cues in my free on-demand webinar, ‘The 5 Biggest Training Mistakes Pup Parents Make, & How to Avoid Them.’

You can register and watch instantly by registering here.

Originally published at on February 18, 2021.



Lisa Ullery Gallegos

I’m a Certified Professional Dog Trainer with free training videos on my YouTube channel, “Lisa Gallegos Dog Training”