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Eye contact

2440 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Cassidy's Mom
Hello,
My girl Mya is going on 13 weeks and she seems to be a pretty quick learner with some things, but she doesn't make a lot of eye contact with me. How can I get her to look at me when I call her? She tends to just look in my direction, instead of making eye contact, or am I just expecting to much from her?


Thanks in advance
Matt
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We have taught "look" (or focus, watch, whatever word you prefer) by luring with a treat. When the dog is in a sit on the left beside you, hold a treat in your right hand and draw your hand up to your face. The dog will follow the treat at first and eventually know what you want.

13 weeks is pretty young, but make your training FUN and keep at it. The next couple of months are going to bring big changes for you!
Leerburg released another video this week that covers this. It is working beautifully with our 10 wk old, and this is not something we've tried before. Without any formal training whatsoever, he was sitting within the first day. All we did was mark the eye contact and a sit with a treat. Now to get his leash clipped on, have the gate to the pen opened, have the leash unclipped, and receive a treat after a potty outside, he knows to sit and make eye contact without even being told. If he gets distracted, we just wait a moment and when he gives the right response he gets the reward.

We follow the method in the video of holding the treat behind your back. The treat is the reward, not the draw, so we don't hold the treat out to get them to follow it. He makes the eye contact on his own, then gets the reward.

Leerburg | Streaming Video
I used on me as a command and marked for looking at me even briefly at that young age. I also held the treat to my face, said on me, and clicked and treated for the slightest look:)
I use a clicker and treats to capture behaviors when the puppy offers them spontaneously. I also teach a "watch" command, but if you want to build a really strong foundation of eye contact all you need to do is click and treat every time she looks at you. The more you reward it, the more she'll offer it up. From there, it's easy to put it on cue.
Our trainer did something I've never seen before- she took a bite of cheese stick, said "watch me" and when Stosh looked at her she spit the cheese out and he caught it! I mean every time! So now when I saw 'watch me' he looks right at my face thinking a piece of cheese might come flying out. I have to admit, I've actually done this in the privacy of my own home and can talk about it since no one really knows who I am.
A lot of people use treat spitting to get their dogs to look at their face - I'd rather my dog looks at my face NOT because food might fly out of it at any moment, I want them to be able to ignore food and look at me instead, so I've never tried this. Also - pretty sure I'd suck at it, lol!
I use a clicker and treats to capture behaviors when the puppy offers them spontaneously. I also teach a "watch" command, but if you want to build a really strong foundation of eye contact all you need to do is click and treat every time she looks at you. The more you reward it, the more she'll offer it up. From there, it's easy to put it on cue.

I'm with this method. I much prefer teaching a voluntary attention than teaching a commanded or cued attention. I actually use it as my default behavior. We do the same thing (at meal times is usually best) And I just have to wait it out. I make no noise, no attraction...but I have their food bowl so they're paying attention to me in general...the instant the eyes flicker towards me...click and treat. 5 glances at my face and then I call that session done. Eventually it builds and they start to look more quickly and you can start to build in longer time.

It's hard for some dogs to look their owner in the face because that can be a challenging behavior. (I'm sure you've heard not to stare at a strange dog before!) Time and patience and always being sure to reward anytime not just when you're training and I'm sure it will come!
Well I'm not the best at it either! But it was a good way to start.
Question about the clicker and capturing. So lets say I wanted to teach my puppy to speak or something besides sit and down. He barks once I click and treat, but he still don't understand what I want, then he don't do it again. Then what?
He barks once I click and treat, but he still don't understand what I want, then he don't do it again. Then what?
Do you mean that he only barks once, and you click and treat after he does it but he doesn't bark again after that? If so, just wait until he does it again. Behavior that is consistently rewarded will increase, but it doesn't happen overnight.
Then you keep working he's a pup,lol. GSD's are smart not psychic:D Speak is a lot different then sit and down because you can not actually make them bark where you can help them sit and down.
Question about the clicker and capturing. So lets say I wanted to teach my puppy to speak or something besides sit and down. He barks once I click and treat, but he still don't understand what I want, then he don't do it again. Then what?
Then repeat, you can't expect the reaction if the dog has not yet learned the appropriate response. Training is repetition. Are you adding the command? Your command should come at the same exact time (or close to it) as he is barking, while training. Don't expect too much right away.
I have seen on videos that you shouldn't apply the command until later.
If you're just capturing behaviors at this point I would not worry about adding a command. Once you're pretty sure he WILL bark at any particular moment, then you can add the command right before he does it. But I think it's too early to worry about that since it sounds like he's only barking occasionally. Didn't you just start working on this?
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