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Look at me, please!


What are you trying to tell me?    

Dog Tales

This is another important step in teaching you how to capture your canine friends’ attention, and keep her focused on you. Get her to look directly into your eyes and you will be sure she wants your attention. Jordan, my black Lab, service dog, has always been an incredibly smart and intense girl. When we are standing in a grocery store line, she will often capture someone’s gaze, and it is often quite disarming to people. I don’t think she is looking into my eyes at times, but directly into my soul. She is quite unique and did not have to be taught how to look into my eyes, but most do need to learn.

This is also a good way to begin teaching her how to “target”. Most dogs don’t understand what you mean when you stick your finger out and point at something. They don’t understand the world as we do, and will usually just look at the end of your finger. This is “targeting”, learning to look at what you are pointing at, not at the tip of your finger. It is not that hard to do. If she learns that when you point at the corner of your eye, that is where she needs to be looking, then you will soon be able to point at other things, and she will look at what you are pointing at.

First, get a yummy treat that she loves. Then have her “front”, or sit facing you. Then hold the treat at the corner of your eye, and say sharply, “Lu Lu, look”. Every time she looks right at you, praise profusely. Even if she isn’t looking dead center in your eyes, reward her. If she is even close, give her the treat, and praise. Eventually, you will get that look that you need. Don’t do it repeatedly, but just sporadically through the day.

If you have been reading and learning my lessons, you should already be almost there. Teaching Lu Lu to “wait” is the first has already taught her that you need her attention if she really wants to go outside.

This is also teaching her patience and you will have her attention if you are diligent, she might already be looking at you expectantly, waiting for the release command, “OK”.

Then, the really easy thing to teach is, waiting for food. know that almost everyone is eager for his or her supper. Use that eagerness as a tool, and insist that she wait patiently. She simply doesn’t get it until she complies. You must insist, every single time for a while. It might be harder on you then it is on her. You just need to train yourself to insist and be patient.

Hopefully, she is waiting expectantly, and looking at the bowl in your hand, while you slowly place it on the floor, then say, “OK”. She is instantly rewarded with her awaited prize, with verbal praise.

Is she waiting, expectantly? Now, work on that gaze that is focused on the food bowl, and move that food obsession to your eyes.

Soon you will find her to be communicating with you with her eyes. Just learn how to read them.

For any questions, stories, or comments about either dog or cat behavior, please email me at or place in comments so they can be shared.