An intermittent reward schedule and varying the amount of time he has to look before getting the reward is the place to start. A light pop on the collar and/or light verbal correction when he does look away, followed by praise when he looks back, will help clarify it for him too.
Originally Posted By: dreamofwrx I do question the rewarding from hands, I always reward from up high and have been taught this way from the beginning. I either drop a ball from my pit, or reach my right arm over top my head and relase it. Otherwise I have seen dogs focusing on the trainers hand or pockets when they should be looking them in the eye.
Problem with this is that the dog may still be looking for the treat/ball and not looking at *you*. It may look like he's looking at you because you are rewarding from up high, but he may very well be doing the same thing as those other dogs who are looking at hands/pockets. It's just not as obvious because of where you are holding the reward.
Using lures near the focal point (so up by the face in this case) to bring about the correct behavior so it can be rewarded, and thus the dog has a chance to learn what the correct behavior is, is always the first step. But once that is learned, the dog needs to realize that he's being rewarded for looking at that specific focal point, be it face or hip or armpit or whatever you want it to be, not just at the reward that happens to be in the general vacinity.
IMO, better to teach the dog to look at the *handler* regardless of where the reward comes from. Reward can be in a hand, in a pocket, on the ground 50' away.. it doesn't matter if the dog has learned that looking at the handler earns the reward, not looking at the reward itself or the place from which the dog thinks the reward will magically appear.
When you can wave a toy all over the place in front of the dog and then toss it a dozen yards away and the dog maintains eye contact throughout.. that is a dog who truly understands focus and will perform proper focus regardless of where the reward is, or even if there is a reward anywhere nearby.