The big difference between human and dog ability is that dogs tend to be poor at multi-tasking. The dog’s senses are dominant in this order: nose, eyes, ears, touch and taste. When he catches a scent with his nose or focuses on something with his eyes, all other senses shut down and the dog seems unable to hear your cue or be tempted by a tasty treat. When your dog catches that scent, or sees something interesting, your response to try to change his behavior is usually a word cue or treat. Notice that his ears are third out of the five senses and his taste is fifth! No wonder he doesn’t respond to our words or treats.
So, when your dog is behaving as a result of his nose or eyes, just wait patiently until he is no longer interested in smelling or watching and then use your word cue or offer a tasty treat. If you are on a walk, you can change direction by using your body language rather than words and facing in the direction you want to go. (More in Chapter 15: Loose Leash Walking.)