I Spy With My Little Eye…EYE CONTACT

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WAXHAW, NC – There are lots of foundational cues that are at the heart of good dog training. One in particular is teaching your dog to offer you eye contact, in all types of situations. Many well bred dogs offer eye contact, especially Labradors and Golden Retrievers. These breeds were originally bred to work with the owner, paying attention to and taking directions from them, working closely together. Meanwhile Terriers were originally bred to be independent workers, sent out from their homes to the barns to ferret out rodents. Rescue dogs are often nervous to look people in the eye because in their world, avoiding eye contact kept them alive.

There are several great ways to work on helping your pup be comfortable with eye contact. Two of them are:

  • Toss a small treat for your dog. Let him go to it, chew it, then say his name, one time. When he turns to look at you, say “YES!” and offer him another treat.
  • Hold a treat in your hand, with your elbow at a right angle and arm out to the side. Your dog will likely focus on the treat. When his eyes move to meet your eyes, say “YES!” and treat.

Important tips:

  1. Watch carefully, make sure your pup is looking at your eyes.
  2. Watch – Mark with “YES!” – Treat
  3. Be patient. Your dog may learn slowly or quickly. That’s okay!
  4. Do not use your dog’s name repeatedly. Say it one time and refer to #3.
  5. After your dog masters this inside, slowly increase distractions with noise or people. Be sure to practice outside too.

Happy training & stay positive! 🐾

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