The art of eye contact

Dog owners sometimes stare into their dog’s eyes and feel “dismissed” or ignored if the dog looks away. They don’t realize that for many dogs, direct eye contact is taken as a threat or a challenge. Some breeds will maintain eye contact for longer periods with humans, but in my experience, most do not.

If you want to build your dog’s capacity for eye contact, hold his favorite reward (food or toy) to your nose, say “Focus” or “Watch” and reward him for even one second of eye contact. With continued practice, your dog will likely be able to offer steady eye contact for longer periods.

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