When we are not paying attention our dogs are more likely to engage in unwanted behaviors.
For example, when someone is at the door…
They know your attention is divided. Normally you are standing over them giving them a command like sit, down, stay or place and they know you are paying attention to them. But once the door bell rings, or the neighborhood cat walks through the back yard, or a squirrel runs across the yard, your dog doesn’t listen or pay any attention to you.
For example, when someone comes to your front door, your priority is to greet them. Your dog knows that your number one priority IS NOT THEM. So even if your dog will complete a successful “sit” or “place” all day long (while you are watching them) you may likely find your dog not paying any attention to you.
When we were kids we knew that the jury was in recess during these types of occasions. So we were sometimes quicker to test the boundaries. Our kids and dogs will do the same.
So once your dog understand what you want, start testing the command with distractions. Start small and simple, like increasing the distance or time. You can even speak quieter. Then move to being in different rooms when you give commands. Practice instructing your dog while interacting with friends and family. Again, start slow and simple. Don’t confuse your dog. What you want is to teach them that sit means sit regardless of what you are doing, or if you are, or are not paying attention to them.