You would like to take your dog picture more often. Unfortunately, as soon as you take out the device your dog is leaking. In fact, as soon as you look at it, it tends to turn your head! It’s far from ideal for a selfie! Yet some dogs manage to fix their master with ease and for long minutes! So why not you? What if you teach him to stay focused on you?
Why teach him?
The “look me” or the “look” is an instruction that indicates that the moment you ask him, the dog must look in your eyes. Of course, you can use another self than “look at me” or “look”. It will be up to you. It is an apprenticeship that seems to me indispensable for many reasons. It is an easy exercise especially if it is done in a positive way.
In short, it is a request that will allow you to simply catch the attention of your dog. This request can make your dog feel uncomfortable. Indeed, most dogs will avoid our eyes. It is a kind of polite mark, as a signal of appeasement that he can give to another dog. Clearly, it means that he does not seek anything from us and especially no conflict.
How to teach him ?
To teach your dog to look in your eyes, there is nothing simpler. Prepare your good mood, your patience, good treats and of course your dog. For learning, put yourself in a quiet room or in a place where there will be no stimulation. The best is to avoid going outside even the garden. But as each dog is different, just tell yourself that you need to put yourself in a place where your dog can stay calm and concentrate. This exercise can be learned by clicking. But if you do not want to, you can replace the click with a voice signal like “yes it’s good !!”. Choose the word you want for this exercise. For the example, we will use the “look”. You are ready ? Here are different ways to learn:
- Learning by Capturing Behavior: When you are interacting with your dog, you can take advantage of the fact that he naturally looks at you. In a cheerful voice told him “yes look! And give her a treat or even her favorite toy. This technique will be rather long, as it will take time for the dog to realize what he is rewarded for. If your dog looks at you regularly in the eyes congratulate him every time and he will naturally strengthen himself. In addition, she will not walk on a dog who is shy and does not want to plunge his eyes into yours.
- Learning by shaping also says shaping: It is about rewarding each little behavior that comes close to the goal. Here you can stand in front of your dog. As soon as he looks you in the eyes, congratulate him with the verbal signal plus the treat. Even if he does not look at you for a long time or in a very brief way you have to congratulate him. Your dog will then offer you this behavior more and more often and in a longer way. Little by little you will be able to demand that he look at you longer and longer before being rewarded.
- Learning through lure: the goal is to lure the dog with its reward (candy or toy) to our eyes. So take the food in your hand. Have your dog sniff it. Before he gets excited, bring your hand back to your chin. Of course the dog should cross your eyes. Reward him by giving him a “yes look!” He will end up associating this word with action. You can turn the exercise in another way. Take the food in your hand. Put it in height. Your dog may suggest behaviors such as: sitting, jumping, chewing your hand, etc. Ignore these behaviors. Because, if you ignore them your dog will end up looking you furtively in the eyes to know what you expect. And at that moment you can give him a “yes look” and give him his treat.
In any case, the exercises will have to be repeated to be well acquired. So, get ready to do short but repeated sessions. Do not say “no” to your dog, even if he suggests bad behavior, because he might stop making proposals and not want to learn anymore.
Now that your dog knows how to watch you on demand, you can use this indication in many situations. Here is a non-exhaustive list :
- “Look at me” to take a picture
- “Look at me” to distract him from behavior (such as for human or congenic reactive dogs)
- “Look at me” for a walk at the foot of obedience or competition discipline.
- “Look at me” if you’re scared I’ll be there to reassure you.
- “Look at me” to teach him to leave something on the floor (like food)
It’s a behavior that requires some self-control on the part of your dog. It is therefore advisable, before teaching him, to make sure that your dog has his needs of satisfaction. It must be released regularly, even if you have a garden. It must be able to be stimulated physically and mentally every day. He must have the opportunity to see other dogs (it’s better). In short, do not wait for him to control himself completely if these needs are not satisfied, because he will surely be in a state of excitement. An excited dog can not learn normally and is easily distracted.
Finally, to generalize learning you can gradually change places with more and more stimulation. Situations will be able to diversify as you learn. Keep in mind that every dog is different. It will take more or less time, according to each individual. If your dog does not succeed a step, it is because you have been too fast. Come back to the previous step and reinforce it.