One of the main goals and rewards with training your dog is the undeniable connection and bond that you form with your dog. With that level of trust, your dog will want to please you and listen to you. They are more willing to work in training if we have their attention, even with significant distractions happening around them. Going even more above and beyond is mastering eye contact and communication with your pup. It is a big accomplishment and shows how powerful inter-species communication
can be and that a simple look in the eye and certain facial expressions can send out the message that we know how to communicate with each other.
Training for eye contact is a rewarding and stimulating exercise and can be easily taught. Once your dog looks up at you, simply begin by giving treats whenever they look. Also make sure to always use the same word to not confuse your pup. To build up their eye contact, you must them practice wi
th more and more distractions and continue with the rewards each time they succeed and then soon they will start checking in with you more to look for more guidance.
Dogs are an amazing species and studies have shown that dogs may have the Theory of Mind which is the ability to attribute mental states to themselves and others and understand that others have different feelings. Some examples of states they can understand are desires, pretending, intentions, perspectives, beliefs, etc. Dogs understand and react to complex feelings and understand you knowing that they know something and so forth.
Eye contact, with not only your pup, but with anyone, is used in daily communication and interactions. It is worthwhile to pay more close attention to your dog’s efforts to communicate with you cognitively. Dogs love pleasing you and being reassured so it is important to reinforce their eye-contact communications and language and as you encourage them to communicate with you more like that, you will not only build your relationship and bond but be able to understand and translate their messages.