Teach Your Dog to "Look" on Command

Make "Look" Work in Real Life

Once your dog is consistently responding to the “look” cue, continue to work on getting him to return his gaze to you before being rewarded. Instead of marking when your dog looks at the item, wait for him to return his gaze to you before marking and rewarding. Many times simply delaying the marker signal will encourage your dog to look back on his own. A small prompt like a kissing noise can also be used to redirect your dog’s attention away from the item and back to you. Reward him as soon as he looks at you.

When your dog is consistently responding to the “look” with small handheld items —and is returning his attention to you before he is rewarded — you can start to practice in increasingly distracting environments and real-life situations. Gradually accustom your dog to responding to “look” in scenarios where it’s especially important for him to focus on you — for example, when people or dogs are passing near you on a walk. Practice with your dog in situations where he can remain calm; for example, start by having a familiar person walk past you on the sidewalk as you give the command to “look,” rather than doing this when a stranger passes.

Eventually, fade the toy or ball and use your hand to point to things your dog might find interesting, like a child on a bike or a passing car. Give the cue and point toward the object; when your dog returns his gaze to you, praise and reward him.

With time and practice, your dog should learn to respond to the “look” cue even in very high distraction situations. Be patient in your training and make sure that your dog is relaxed and comfortable as you practice this trick.

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