Friday, February 15, 2013

Eye Contact - Teaching your dog to focus on you.

Eye Contact: 

Teaching our dogs to "look at us" is a very simple command for them to learn. Not only is it a great mind stimulation game, works on name recognition, increased the bond you have with your dog, but it will also help teach your dog NOT to pull on his/her leash while out on walks and makes it easier for you to communicate with your dog when there are pesky distractions around that may normally get your dog in a tizzy. 

Teaching your dog to look at you should be an every day interaction. 

The best way to teach your dog a new command is with as little (if any) distraction as possible. 

For this post we chose to use the dogs name - some people prefer to use the command "LOOK". Either can be done by following the below. 

What you will need:

- Leash 

- Clicker
- Soft high value treats 
- Willing dog wanting those treats ;)

Ok, Ready to learn how to teach your dogs to focus on you!?

#1 With little to no distractions, start with your dog on a leash, sitting or standing in front of you, place the treats in your left hand. Wait patiently. The INSTANT that your dog looks or even glaces up at your face, CLICK & then TREAT.

** You may have to be on your toes with this one, as some of the glances may be quick. The faster you are at catching them, the faster the dog will pick up and the glances will get longer.

**If the dog is a bit scattered and looking all over the room, you can make a sound to help pull your dogs attention up toward your face/eyes. 

#2 After your dog eats the treat let a few "seconds" elapse and wait for your dog to look at something else that is not you.

#3 Once your dog picks up what you are trying to get him/her to do (look at your eyes), say your dog’s name (or "look"). The second he/she looks up at your face, Click for eye contact & Treat. 

#4 Repeat steps 1-3 until your dog is looking up at you every single time you say his name. (or the "look" command) 

To summarize:
Every time your dog looks at you when you say his/her name, Mark that moment and give him/her that tasty Treat. 


In the beginning - For some dogs, it may help to hold the treat between your eyes to get your dog to focus on your face.

** But make sure you do NOT rewarding your dog for following your hand from the treat bag up to your eyes.

- ONLY reward your dog for those times that your dog looks away (at something other than you or the treats) and then back at you.



-Do this ( Before ) your dog eats his/her meal. You want them a bit hungry for an extra boost of attention. ;)

-Be consistent: if you reward your dog for EVERY time he looks at you  - when you say his/her name - you will have their undivided attention. 

-Keep beginning training sessions short and sweet, no more than 5 minutes when first introducing a new behavior.  

** When your dog gets bored you will have a hard time ending on a "positive note". So, stay on your toes and keep it fun!

-Start off in one spot, try not to move around a lot. 

-Do these steps a few times a day until your dog does not hesitate to look up you at your face/eye when you say his/her name, then take it out doors and repeat steps 1 - 4.

- When moving to a new location it may seem like the dog is backtracking . Have patience and help your pup be successful in that environment. You never want to start training in a highly active area. Work your (their) way up to it. You both will have a better chance at succeeding this way. 


Have patience & be consistent.

When you have time also Check out this fun article: 

1 comment:

  1. Great, easy to follow information! I use this while walking my hound when i see something (rabbit, cat etc) to get his attention before he sees & becomes fixed.