DTS003 – Does Your Dog Have Eyes For You?
(Here the transcript for Episode 3)
Today's topic will be, do your dogs have eyes on you? This is a million-dollar question! Do you know an excellent recall can save your dog's life? A dog that has no or little awareness of their owner has zero chance to be called back. This is a hard truth. Most people do not like to hear this, but it's the truth. A good recall skill starts with a dog that has an eye on the owner. It is just like saying beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. If not, you can add value to yourself, and if not, you can never be a beauty in the eyes of the dog. Looking into your eyes is a trained behaviour just like us in human behaviour; eyes staring is a confrontational behaviour. If you stare into your dog's eyes, it is usually resulted in the turning away or to avoid eye contact, or something resulted in an unhappy vocalization, such as growling as a challenge.
Dog training is not rocket science, but I will always believe or instead look at dog training is a form of management. How do you manage your daily routine? For example, from the onset of waking up, breakfast, and lunch. And then to the coffee break time and then to dinner and then to a good night rest. All these routines are critical, especially for dogs who are so good at what we call habitual behaviour. If you set a method and is well thought for, you will be able to help your dog to get easier to get associated with your family basically, and he will also look up to you as the owner right, and there is the key to training. Always hear owners come and asked me right how do I get my dog to look at me like yours? The question is, why does your dog have to look at you? Do you have anything for him? Are you attractive enough for him to keep looking at you? Or other words, are you handsome enough? That's just a joke. Behaviour, especially as I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast, learning, teaching your dog to stare into your eyes, is a Train Behavior. Because in human terms staring of eyes is confrontational.
Here are some ways you can train the eye contact. Not an exhaustive one, but just for you to engage your dog and to have good eye contact with your dog. So number one, play the eye contact game as some will called it a Zen Training, especially in PUPS Dog Training; we called it Zen Training. The objective of the game is to teach your dog to focus on your face and right into the owner's eye. How do we do it? Put food on both hands facing your fists upward and let the dog smells your hands. We want our dog to realize, digging, biting, and giving you paws will not work. And if you do not respond, then he turns his head away, and that's a cue for you to mark yes, and you pay your dog. After a few sound reinforcement and repetition, your dog will learn that the behaviour for him to take to win a reward is not to dig your hand and not to lick it, and he will be learning how to turn and push himself back to a sit or a down position. That's what you want to do as step one.
Now you can increase the criteria, backing off from my hand is not going to win you the reward. This time could you look into my face? Not necessary to be at my eyes, but at least somewhere around my face. So the criteria are backing off from my hand, plus staring into the area of my face, and you will hear the M/T, Mark & Treat, and you reward that for sound reinforcement and good repetition of the exercise. And then the result will be, your dog will keep staring into your face. Eventually, he will be looking at your face as your smile, you will Click & Treat or Mark & Treat, and that behaviour will keep coming in. Do remember any action that you want to be repeated, and you got to make it fun, make it rewarding, make it exciting, and the behaviour will keep coming back.
The next tip for playing games for me, I will always look at the two-foods game or the two-toys game as an enriching exercise. The exercise for both yourself and your dog and to keep your dog keep coming to you looking out for more fun more excitement you know more for more rewards that are coming your way. So how do you do the two-food game? Let's look at the objective of the two-food game. The two-food match is straightforward. You can toss your food away, and the dog goes away to get the food. And immediately you will be calling for good recall and say something like Max come? And he comes straight to you, and you will mark for the behaviour of turning and coming back to you instantaneously, and that will be the M/T. As he is turning and almost reaching, I would turn my body to the other end and toss the other food out to the other end of the house, and you will realize your dog will continue his run towards the food that is being thrown over the other side. And when he goes and retrieve the food again, and I will be calling max again come and what I am looking for is instantaneous turning back at me and once it's done and yet he will hear M/T and my mark & treat, and click & treat, as he comes directly as almost to a front. I will turn my body to the other end of the house so that I will do this for maybe a good reputation or three to four times. Then the final behaviour will be getting the dog to sit just in front of me for the presentation of the front as we call in the obedience training.