Help! My Dog Is Distracted

Help! My Dog Is Distracted: A Guide To Getting Your Dog Attention Outside

by John M. O’Brien

The first time I saw my friend’s two dogs, they were walking side by side across the street from our house. They didn’t look at each other or me, but they kept moving forward with no regard for traffic or pedestrians. I was surprised because I knew their owner had told them not to do it before. They were both very friendly dogs, but they seemed oblivious to the fact that there was another human being behind them. I thought maybe they were just bored and wanted to stretch out their legs.

I decided to walk over after work so I could pet one of them and see if it would start following me again. When I got closer, however, something wasn’t right. Their eyes weren’t looking straight ahead; instead they were constantly scanning the sidewalk and then back to where they came from. I tried calling out to them several times, but nothing happened. Finally, I called over my shoulder to ask if anyone was around and sure enough someone was coming down the block.

Do you mind?”

she asked me politely as she walked past me toward her car. “It’s really distracting.”

“I’m really sorry about that,” I pleaded. “She’s very friendly and gets distracted by other dogs sometimes. I guess I’ll have to keep her on a tighter leash from now on.” The woman smiled at me and waved goodbye. “I think she likes you,” my friend told me when I walked back inside.

I sat down next to him on the sofa and after a few moments, he spoke up again. “Yeah, I think she likes you too.”

As a professional dog walker and day care provider, I’m around dogs all day long so you’d think that I’m immune to distractions. However, it’s quite common for even the most attentive canines (including me) to get distracted by their surroundings. This is especially true when they’re out on a walk and something catches their eye. As soon as this happens, you have to take immediate action to get their attention back on you. After all, distracted dogs have a tendency to get into trouble faster than they get distracted in the first place.

What Is A Dog Distracted By?

From the moment they’re born, dogs are hardwired to explore their environment. They actually see everything around them as something they can investigate. When you first bring a new puppy into your home, you have to introduce them to all the things that are off-limits to them (like electrical outlets) and everything that’s ok for them to interact with (like chew toys and blankets). As they get older, they learn from you which items are good to play with and which ones will hurt them if they mess with them.

Sources & references used in this article:

… of early measurements of the distraction index, Norberg Angle on distracted view and the official radiographic evaluation of the hips of 215 dogs from two guide dog … by M Taroni, JP Genevois, E Viguier… – Veterinary and …, 2018 –

Designing a Toolbox to Improve Creative Output: A Guide for Cultivating Critical, Creative, and Conceptual Thinking Skills in an Increasingly Distracted Society by M Jackson – 2010 – Prometheus books

Deep work: Rules for focused success in a distracted world by C Tuttle – 2020 –

Distracted Subjects: madness and gender in Shakespeare and early modern culture by C Newport – 2016 –