By now your dog loves finding your face and that’s going to be worked on as a default behaviour.
But, we’re also going to add a cue-word so that you can ask your dog for eye contact when needed.
Practice for 1-2 minute sessions and then take a break. Have a few sessions today.
Try fitting each short session into your routine; for example, while you wait for the kettle to boil, during the ad break of your TV show or while you wait for the computer to start up.
Kids are often great dog trainers. Teach each child how to play this game safely – have your child sit in a chair to practice.
If your dog is mouthy, jumpy or likely to get over-excited it might be best for you to get the behaviours established and then bring in the kids to help with practice.
Always supervise child-dog interactions and make sure children learn to leave the dog alone when eating his rewards.
Top Tip for Today’s Training Game:
Your LOOK! cue is going to be used to call your dog’s attention away from different distractions, some that are very rewarding to your dog.
This means we need to take care of this cue and only use it we are certain that the dog will be able to LOOK!.
To achieve that we need to associate really really yummy treats with our LOOK! cue.
You will need:
- Training Mix
- toys or other high value rewards
Beginner Level Games:
Introducing the LOOK! cue:
- play Find my Face a couple of times
- drop at treat at your toe
- when he eats the treat, and just before he lifts his head, say LOOK! in an upbeat tone
- say YES! when he finds your face and drop another treat to repeat
Practice in short sessions of 5-10 repetitions.
Surprise your dog
After some practice with the LOOK! cue, try surprising your dog.
Wait for him to be just mildly distracted, staring into space or just sniffing in the garden.
Have a yummy treat ready, ask him to LOOK! and reward.
Repeat a couple of times to really help your dog get that this cue may happen at any time and always results in yummy things.
Advanced Level Games:
LOOK! & distractions
This game will help to teach your dog that to gain access to distractions he must first make eye contact:
- show your dog a treat or a toy and hold it out to your side
- when he looks at the distraction/reward, say LOOK!
- wait for him to make eye contact
- say YES!
- reward with the treat or the throw of the toy
LOOK! away from distractions
For this exercise, you need really really high value rewards that can compete against a lower level distraction.
More on understanding rewards & distractions.
Present a controlled distraction and as soon as your dog looks at it say LOOK!.
When he gives eye contact, say YES! and reward.
Dog can’t LOOK?
- give your dog a little more distance from the distraction
- use a less enticing distraction
- reward with higher value rewards
Another challenging training plan done – yay!