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Old 11-16-2012, 12:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Because it's entertaining for me, I've taught my dogs to focus my spitting tiny bits of cheese/hotdogs from my mouth to them once they've established eye contact.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lilie View Post
Because it's entertaining for me, I've taught my dogs to focus my spitting tiny bits of cheese/hotdogs from my mouth to them once they've established eye contact.
I have done this too. Amazing how focused on my face Stella becomes!
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:40 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm still not quite sure how focusing works, how do they know when to focus and when not to? Is it something any dog can learn to do?
Focus can be on cue (I use "watch") or a default behavior, and preferably is trained as both. By marking and rewarding eye contact offered up by my dogs when they were puppies, (a clicker works very well for this, but a verbal marker is fine too - "yes!"), and then by requiring it for things they want, such as meals, ball play, going for a walk, getting a bully stick - that reinforced that focusing on me is a good thing.

Since you can't teach your dog anything unless you first have her attention, I like to work on focus early and often, as foundation work that everything else builds on. With a young puppy I just hang out with them, usually sitting on the floor, and wait for them to look at me, then I click/treat. Eventually I'll put it on cue but I don't want my dogs to only look at me when I ask them to, I want them to look to me for direction all the time, so I make eye contact "work" for them to get things they want, so they do it automatically.
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Old 11-16-2012, 01:57 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I have done this too. Amazing how focused on my face Stella becomes!
My Lacy is so food driven that when he starts to focus on something that I know he is going to react to (squirrel etc.) I can actually walk away and say "Look!" and he'll race to me in an attempt to get a better view of my eyes. I know that it's not the purpose of focus, but sometimes you do what you need to in an effort to bring your high drive dog out of the fog.

It does not work once he has reacted. Then I have to use recall..or prayer. Sometimes both.
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