Recently I clicker trained my six-year-old Rottweiler to watch me, that is, to make and hold eye contact with me. As you may have heard, many dogs don’t like to do this, but once I clicked and treated for it a number of times, Lola thought it was just fine. I can count to about twenty while she holds the contact–most of the the time. We’re working now on holding it when there are distractions.
Why would I train a dog to watch me? Well, it was one of the first things in Clickertraining, an ebook I get a lot of ideas from. But it made sense too. If a dog is watching you, it’s easier to get that dog to do any number of things.
After training Lola to watch me, I happened to come across this Youtube video by trainer Emily Larlham, whom I blogged about recently. Well worth watching. I got a kick out of the row of dogs lined up watching in the background.
So what about that unexpected side effect? Well, now Lola is training me to give her treats. When I walk from the kitchen through the living room, she gazes at me. When I am stretched out on the sofa reading, she gazes at me. At any number of other times, she gazes at me. In other words, she is initiating the game! Sometimes it works and I look at her for a spell, say “Yes!” or click the clicker if it’s in my pocket, and give her a treat. Other times, I don’t buy into it.
We’re having fun.