Petiquette 101: 4 Steps for Getting Your Pet's Attention

May 23, 2017

WE LOVE PETS! They provide companionship, affection and improve our quality of life -- if they are well behaved. To teach your pets to behave properly you need to be able to get and hold their attention. When you can get their attention, then you can give them commands and control their behavior. It’s straightforward, but it’s not always easy. To help you take control, Timbercreek Communities wants to share these 4 steps for getting your pet’s attention.

iStock-535428765Eye Contact is Key

Your pet, especially a dog, is thinking about what it is looking at. If they are not making eye contact with you, chances are they are not thinking about you or what you want them to do. Eye contact is key. The first step in training your pet is to teach them to stare at you, without stopping. After several sessions getting your dog familiar with eye contact, you won’t need to tug on their collar to get their attention.

The Name Game

Getting your dog familiar with eye contact is crucial, but how do you get them to stare at you on command? Teach them their own name. A pet’s name can be used to get their attention, so that you can then tell them what you want them to do next, like “come” for example. It’s important that you only say your pet’s name once. If you repeat the name over and over, they may dismiss it. If you don’t get their attention after saying their name, follow it with attention-getting noises. You can pat your leg or make high pitched noises, then reward them when they look at you.


Your pet will respond to praise. Positive reinforcement works. The reward of praise makes them likely to repeat the behavior they were praised for. Timing is key -- you need to give them the praise immediately or they will not associate it with the correct action. If you tell your dog to “sit” and then say “good boy” when they stand back up, they will think they are being praised for standing up.


Besides praise, the other reward that is important to your pet is treats. When you say their name and they stare at you, reward them with a treat immediately. Keep your commands short. Single words are best. Everyone in the family should use the same commands and reward good behaviour right away. Consistency is key. The treat should be small, not something they need to take time to chew. Accompany these treat rewards with praise and you will be able to get your pet’s attention and have them follow your simple commands.

Timbercreek Communities hopes these tips for getting your pet’s attention help to transform your pet into a happy a well behaved member of the family.

To learn about pet friendly Timbercreek Rental Communities across Canada, please visit our website.

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