Teaching a dog to make eye contact is extremely useful with a variety of applications. It is a good habit to encourage especially in puppies who often have the tendency to be rambunctious, particularly in the presence of delicious food/treats. Use this exercise to help build their focus & attention while demonstrating that rewards in their environment are unlocked through you. Ideally, we should always establish eye contact before giving them any obedience cue.
This is also a great exercise for anybody that is new to clicker training. It can be a little challenging at first to time your clicks and deliver the food rewards perfectly, so this is a good place to start and develop your skill.
Be sure to repeat each step outlined in this video several times before raising the criteria and moving on to the next one. Some dogs are more persistent and require extra patience before they start to offer eye contact. This is where clicker training is awesome because it allows us to mark the exact millisecond when the desired behavior happens thus making it very easy for the dog to understand & learn. Always use high-value food rewards & always reward after each click so that it does not lose value.
Finally, food rewards should be understood as a stepping stone to teaching something. This means that eventually, there is no need to reward your dog with food every time as they learn to offer the behavior by default.
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