The very first thing I teach puppies is eye contact. I do it with treats. I walk around or sit in my chair with the puppy tethered to me. Any time the pup gives me eye contact I immediately say GOOD, and treat. You would be amazed how fast they learn that eye contact results in a treat! After they get really good at it, I work in the word look. Then when I'm doing yard work or whatever, and I need eye contact, I just say "look." Works like a charm.
"For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required." -- Luke 12:48
Raven - Moneybird's Black Magic Marker***
(Esprit's Power Play x Trumarc's Lean Cuisine)
Mick - Moneybird's Jumpin' Jack Flash***
(Clubmead's Road Warrior x Oakdale Whitewater Devil Dog)
Peerless - Moneybird's Sole Survivor
(Two River's Lucky Willie x Moneybird's Black Magic Marker)
Have her set facing you at about 10 feet. Have a small piece of wiener in your mouth. Telll her to look! and snap your fingers or move your hands at chest level to get her looking at you. Then spit the wienie on the ground and let her get it. repeta to get her to learn the look command
Many big time field trialers use the hand motion so that the dog gets a preparatory command to take a cast Helps the dog when dog is at 100 to +++ yards to get a peparatory command. I think it creates a better bond than to just look at the handler.
Good comments already.
My $0.02.... avoiding eye contact in this situation is also a sign of stress. Not necessarily heavy-handed training, just too much asked too soon. Does she make eye contact at other times of the day? watch you? In training does she exhibit other stress-related behaviors such as yawning, anticipating, etc?
I train Utility (the obedience equivalent of an MH) and getting quality eye contact on signals and directed jumping is a big deal. We only get one chance to get it right in the ring. Biggest piece of advice I have on that... slow down. Count a slow five, ten, fifteen seconds before you give a command. Walk out, get your eye contact, tell her "good", walk back. Stress-related behaviors often show up because she's anticipating having to do something she doesn't completely understand. (In her mind, if she doesn't see your signal she can't get it wrong...) By getting your eye contact, returning and rewarding, you've begun eliminating that stress. Next step is to set her up to succeed when you give a command. Give her some confidence she can think her way through your requests and make the right choice, and you'll eliminate her worry over what command you're going to give.
~Your decisions are only as good as the information you base them on~
Lijah UDX OM1 GO VER RE TDI CGC ASCA-CD
Boaz JH CD CGC
Brie CD CGC
Zen UD GO VER JH (2 SH passes)
Tara (future amazingness!)