At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, on a daily basis we work with getting dog’s behavioral issues fixed and their obedience flawless.
Once your dog has a solid foundation on obedience, I always recommend that you start building their focus during their training. In many of our videos, you will see that the dogs, while performing the commands, will not take their eyes off of us. Often times, this isn’t something that comes natural to the dogs, this is something that you have to teach them.
As you will see in some of our videos, you can teach the dog the “watch” command, which will give you a dog that will ignore distractions and maintain eye contact with you. So, this is one option in order to start building focus in your dog. You can see an example of this in the video below:
Another very simple option is to not releasee your dog from the command they are in (sit, down, place, etc) until they are making eye contact with you. Stick to doing this every time you place your dog in any stable dog.
When you start doing this, as soon as your dog makes eye contact, release them. As you do more repetitions, make them keep eye contact with your for 3 seconds before you release them. Repeat and 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, etc.
If they do not make eye contact, and they leave the position they were in, immediately put them back in that position and repeat.
Your dog simply learns, “You do not release me from this position until I maintain eye contact with you.”
You would be surprised in the difference this can make in a very short amount of time. If you do this correctly and consistently, you will notice that as soon as you place a dog in any command, they will stare at you intently, because they have learned this is what triggers you releasing them.