The Importance of Eye Contact in Dog Training | Teach Your Dog

Eye Contact in Dog Training

Why and how to train your dog to make eye contact

As every dog owner will tell you, communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship with your canine companion. In addition, making eye contact is a crucial part of communicating, although many individuals neglect it. You can deepen your bond with your dog and your training results by teaching him to make eye contact with you on demand.

Why it’s important to train your dog to make eye contact, how to accomplish it, and how to reinforce it are all topics we’ll cover here.

When training a dog, why is maintaining eye contact so vital?

Because of their gregarious nature, dogs interact with one another and with humans through nonverbal cues such as body language and facial expressions. The expressions of trust and affection, as well as hostility and fear, can all be conveyed through eye contact.

Teaching your dog to look you in the eye is an important step in developing trust and reinforcing desirable actions. Making direct eye contact with your dog is an excellent way to show him who’s the boss and put a stop to disruptive behaviors like jumping, barking, and hostility.

Tips on Teaching Your Dog to Look at You Directly

There are only a few basic stages involved in training your dog to look at you when you speak:

  • Choose somewhere peaceful and undisturbed to get some training done.
  • Put a snack right up next to your mouth.
  • Patiently await your dog’s gaze before responding. Say “yes” or click a clicker to mark the behavior, then immediately reward the dog with the treat.
  • Do this multiple times a day until your dog begins to reliably look you in the eyes when you call his name.
  • You can start to teach your dog the verbal command “look” or “watch me” before offering the treat once he has learned the act.

Being patient and regular with your training is crucial. Don’t give up hope if your dog seems to be slower to pick up commands than others you’ve worked with.

Advice on How to Promote Eye Contact

It’s crucial to consistently reinforce your dog’s newfound ability to make eye contact with you. To that end, consider the following advice:

  • Start off training in a calm, distraction-free setting, then when your dog gets the hang of it, move on to more chaotic surroundings.
  • To encourage your dog to look at you, use positive reinforcement such as treats, praise, and affection.
  • Always ask your dog to make eye contact with the same verbal command, and always reward it when it does.
  • Dogs have short attention spans, therefore training sessions should be kept quick and targeted to keep the dog’s interest.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to encourage your dog to make eye contact and deepen your relationship with him or her.


Making eye contact with a dog is a great way to communicate with them and may go a long way toward fostering a trusting relationship. You can strengthen your bond with your dog and your training results by teaching him to make eye contact on command and rewarding him for doing so frequently.

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Jackie Brown

About the Author: Jackie Brown

Writer, editor, and pet expert Jackie Brown has spent more than 25 years following her passion for animals. She is a regular contributor to numerous pet and veterinary industry books, magazines and websites.Jackie has an extensive background in dogs and cats, particularly in purebred dogs and pedigreed cats, and is passionate about all pet topics, including veterinary and health topics, general care, nutrition, grooming, behavior, training, rescue and animal welfare, lifestyle, breeding and showing (cats as well as dogs), dog sports and activities, and the human-animal bond.