Teaching your dog to look at you, regardless of distraction
So how can you teach your dog to look at you on cue?
1. Drop a treat on the floor – whilst your dog is eating it, run away – rattle a toy, make an interesting noise etc – if you dog looks at you, click, run over to him drop another treat and run off again…
2. Repeat this until the dog is beginning to come towards you – think about what you want to teach… If its to get the dog to look at you, click when he looks. If its to improve recall, click as he comes towards you.
3. Once the dog eats the treat and starts looking at your face immediately, you can start to add the cue – you could use ‘look’ or ‘watch me’ perhaps.
4. Add distractions – start with a minor distraction, such as a rustling crisp bag at a distance. Let the dog look towards the noise, but click and reward when he looks back to you.
5. Change the distance of the distraction – start with the distraction at a distance, then gradually bring it closer.
6. Begin to increase the distraction – bouncing ball, dog playing, familiar person, someone eating, someone sitting on the floor, someone on a bike, unfamiliar animals etc
Keep testing the cue – make sure that you try it out from time to time so that your dog remembers it and it still works when you need it.