Capturing Eye Contact

Eye contact – we know this is the Mother Of All Behaviours because if you don’t have your dog’s eyes, you don’t have their brain! 

One of the most critical things you can do to have a polite walking dog, is to create connectivity. The way to do that is to capture your dog’s attention when it happens naturally, pay it well, and it will start happening more frequently! 

So, rather than prompting your dog, calling their name, chanting your eye contact cue over and over again, simply make a BIG deal when they remember you exist! 

The first thing I like to do is a “three-treat starter.” When you step outside your front door, whether into the condo hallway or onto your porch, stop and feed your dog three treats, one after another. This sets the tone for the start of the walk and reminds them to check in with you visually for a paycheque! 

Now, we have to train in a boring/quiet environment first. Otherwise you’ll be at a loss in the busy environment! Indoors, we’ll start building this connectivity. 

“Any behaviour that is followed by pleasant consequences is likely to be repeated.”

~ Edward Thorndike1874-1949″Thorndike’s Law of Effect”

Stand with your dog and if they glance in your direction, click (or “yes!”) and then reach into your pouch and grab a piece of food. You can either toss the food on the ground so that you can get a natural “reset” where your dog looks away and then has an opportunity to look back at you for the next repetition, OR you can feed in the drive-thru window.