How To Get Your Dog To Focus On You Outside?

How To Get Your Dog To Focus On You Outside?

Your dog is well-behaved when he is inside the house, but as soon as you take your dog outside, his behavior changes! Would that not make you uncomfortable, making your mind overflow with questions you don’t have answers to?

So how to get your dog to focus on you outside? It is natural for a dog to be distracted when he goes out. After all, there is a lot for him to explore. You can familiarize him with the name, get his attention with something, and socialize him to keep his focus on you. 

Even when it happened with my dog, I was constantly frustrated because he wouldn’t listen to me. It is no easy task and requires a lot of time and effort, especially if your dog is a puppy. So, let us look into some tips for getting your dog to focus on you outside!

Why Is My Dog So Distracted Outside?

More than when you are inside, dogs tend to get distracted outside. This can be anything for a dog, and how it affects the dog might also depend on his temperament. 

One example is younger puppies. Suppose they are not adequately socialized or introduced into various new environments when you go outside. In that case, your puppy will get all excited. He can be distracted by new people, new streets, other pets, and the vehicles passing by! 

Older dogs can also go through this if they are naturally anxious and always try to stay inside. So, when they are taken outside occasionally, everything will feel novel to them – the smell of the sand, the leaves falling, small insects, butterflies, and everything in between. 

Therefore, before you figure out how to get your pet to focus on you outside, identify what distracts him. It is because sometimes the training method depends on the type of distraction you want to avoid with your dog. 

Why Does My Dog Listen To Me Inside But Not Outside?

  • Your dog is naturally not great at handling distractions

New smells, loud sounds, bright lighting, and new people can arouse your dog’s curiosity. Suppose he is one of those dogs who quickly get overstimulated. In that case, he won’t be great at listening to you or handling distractions outside.

Too many stimuli simultaneously, for example, at a crowded park, can make it challenging to get your dog to focus on you outside.

  • Your dog might not be familiar with the outside environment

If you recently brought your dog home, he might not be familiar with the outdoor environment. Your dog will not know how to listen to your commands in social situations.

Although he will listen to you at home, meeting your other family members and friends with all the distractions outside won’t make it any easier. 

  • Your dog might not be great at generalization

Generalization means that your dog learns to apply your commands to every situation. The inability to do so will make it difficult for your canine to focus on you outside.

For example, if your dog understands and obeys your command to “sit” at home but fails to do so in the dog park, that means he might not be great at generalization. 

Practice these commands at home in different places. You can try them in the living room, bedroom, staircase, and porch so the dog will get accustomed to different environments. 

  • Your dog does not understand what you expect him to do

Sometimes it won’t be easy to get your dog to focus on you outside because he does not know what you expect him to do. It can happen when you do social training for your dog at irregular intervals.

You must be consistent in the training when it comes to your dog, especially if it is a puppy, because once a habit is formed, it will be difficult to get rid of it. 

You may train your dog one day, skip the next day, and begin it when you want. And that is not the consistency you must look for. Try to stick to the same time, preferably 10-15 minutes of training each day.

You should also repeat the training until the dog understands the commands and reward him with pet treats, verbal praise, or a slight pat on the back for motivation. 

  • Your dog is very anxious

Another reason why your dog won’t listen to you outside is that he is too anxious because of the overstimulation of the five senses. It can be especially seen in younger puppies with inadequate social training. 

It could mean they weren’t socialized in different situations when they were 4-16 weeks old. If your dog was also exposed to unpleasant environments and punishments when he was a puppy, it would be very anxious and difficult to get your dog to focus on you outside.

How To Get Your Dog To Focus On You Outside? 

Training your dogs to focus on your commands when outside will make it easier for you and the dog when you meet new people and get exposed to different environments away from home. 

Below are some ways to get your dog to focus on you outside.

  • One of the most effective ways to get your dog to focus on you outside is to familiarize him with the name. If your dog can’t recognize his name, no matter what you say or do, he won’t listen to you when outside. Make sure to practice using his name; use calm tones and associate it with rewards (pet treats, hugs, verbal praise) when the dog correctly responds to you.
  • The next step is to use your dog’s name to get its attention when he is distracted by something. Suppose your dog is playing with his favorite new toy in the living room. You can then try calling his name, and if he stops playing and looks at you, makes sure to reward him so that he knows it is good behavior. You can also use a leash if your dog is not yet used to obeying your commands, and when he doesn’t do as you say, gently pull the leash to get his attention.
  • Now, you can move on to outside situations when all that is done. You can introduce new people, pets, and toys to your dog. When he gets distracted, make sure to call your dog’s name and instruct him to watch you. Repeat this a few times until he is ready to be less distracted, and every time he correctly responds to you, make sure to reward him. 

Thanks for reading this post. Stay with us for more interesting posts like this.


  • Sofia Williams

    Sofia W. is a professional dog trainer who completed Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA and CPDT-KSA) certifications. Also, she has completed the Pet Nutrition Coach Certification. Sofia is interested in creating nutritious food formulas for dogs to give them a longer and healthier life. She believes food and training are a collective combination of a healthy dog. So, she is with us to share her expertise and knowledge with other dog parents.

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