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Training Day Eye Contact

We tend to start our dogs out with marker training as puppies. This allows us to begin the communication process with the puppies as well as get them started training with a more positive association type of training.
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Then once they grow up a little bit and have been training routinely we work to ween them off it for a more bond based (I guess is a good way to put it) way of reward and training. We will cover this in more detail in the future.
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We try to limit our corrections out side of emergency situations or situations that are absolutely un acceptable. That being said we still use the least amount of correction required at this stage.
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Now we start all our dogs with making eye contact. This is a fairly simple task and it starts building that bond as well as getting the dog used to the clicker/marker and gets the dog paying attention to you as the handler.
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This can also be the most frustrating stage as its the puppies first training sessions and it can take a lot of waiting for them to look at you to get that first click or mark for them to start getting the hints.
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Now we also keep training session very short(5 Min max) at this stage because they are puppies and they have very short attention spans.
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Now I say a lot of waiting because I have found that the more you can have the dog figure it out for them self the stronger the training will be because it is like a light bulb going on in their brain. It equates to that feeling you get when you are trying to learn something new and you finally figure it out for the first time on your own. So if you wait for the puppy to look up at you, unassisted or forced he will pick up on what you want much faster once they do it for the first time.
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Now if you go multiple sessions and the pup just doesn’t seem to get it their are some ways that you can usually trick them into doing what you want and they still somewhat think they did it themself.
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One of these tricks is called luring. If they like food as their reward or even their toy for reward you can get them paying attention to it and then draw it close to your face.
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Then once they look at you/the toy or treat by your face mark it and give them the reward. You will repeat this a few times and then start stoping the toy/treat farther and farther from your face until you are holding it like you normally wood and the puppy is looking at your face for the reward.
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The next step in the training process is to lengthen the time that they needs to look into your eyes before he is rewarded. As with everything increase the difficulty slowly!
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Now while you are doing this your dog will likely start throwing other desired behaviors such as sitting, lying down, and so on and you should mark and reward those as well when they happen in these early stages to help reenforce the marker as well getting them to know that those behaviors are also good.