Positive Interrupter

The positive interrupter is used to gain your dogs attention anywhere regardless of what your dog is doing.  It could also be known as the attention noise. It means, stop what you are doing and either look at me or come over here and look at me.

The positive interrupter can be used to interrupt a behavior you don’t like. To achieve a successful positive interrupter you must train it so that it becomes muscle memory so when your dog hears the noise they automatically look to you or come to you. You can use a kissy sound, whistle, or your dog’s name (I suggest this with caution). People have a tendency to overuse the pet’s name. Do you remember being a kid or have kids? Have you ever experienced, "Mom, Mom, MOM, MOM!" When overused, the name becomes white noise and the rapid response we once got it often slow or ignored.

To teach your dog the positive interrupter you must pair the sound with a high value treat. Make the sound and then give your dog the treat. You can deliver the treat directly to your dog’s mouth or place the treat on the floor. I like to place it on the floor because then it gives your dog the chance to turn his attention back to you when you make the sound. Once your dog is reliably responding to the noise you can start adding more criteria to the behavior. When your dog is readily turning his attention to you, you can raise the criteria to having your dog make eye contact. If your dog struggles to look up at your face or eyes you can make another noise or sound, such a blowing sound with your mouth, without actively blowing at your dog.

As your dog gets better and if offering the behavior reliably you can begin to add distractions. If at any point your dog doesn’t look at you when you make the sound, go back to the last set up where your dog was successful.