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What do you use to get eye contact from a dog that avoids looking at you when starting handling drills?
 

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Toss a bumper at him for him to catch. Then just keep it in your hands so he focuses on it.
 

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One thing you can also is when you teach the come in bumper, you can throw in a real bird once in awhile to whistle them in to pick up. If you do that randomly, the dog is always wondering if it'll get a bird this time.
 

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Buzz said:
One thing you can also is when you teach the come in bumper, you can throw in a real bird once in awhile to whistle them in to pick up. If you do that randomly, the dog is always wondering if it'll get a bird this time.
I wouldn't recommend this random treat when running pattern blinds though. Reminded me of the time I put a duck down instead of a last bumper in the pattern - a kinda surprise / reward. Pup thought this was great.

Turned around and set up another pattern blind in different direction (no duck this time) and watched pup run past 1 bumper, then 2, 3, 4, sniffing each one. Simultaneously I realized the goofy son-of-a-buck wasn't going to stop til he found another duck (was holding a great line, BTW) and he was quickly closing in on the road 75 - 100 yds out!

Damn near ruptured a lung with the come-in whistle!
 

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Hard to say without seeing you and the dog.

However, if it's a deliberate avoidance of eye contact on his part then it's a confidence issue. I'd just back up a tad and do the (simplified) drills at very short range with lots of praise when he gets it right. He may well have picked up on your anxiety and it's put him off.

The whistle sit with an immediate bumper for eye contact compliance will certainly help.

regards
Eug
 

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Crazy as it sounds I use the "look" command. Started real simple with treats. Give the command then reward for compliance. Now if she is a bit distracted I have a command to get her attention. For instance, she is sitting at the intersection running the T but wants to look at the over pile instead of me, I give the "look" command and then cast her to the appropriate pile.
 

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2-Dogs said:
Buzz said:
One thing you can also is when you teach the come in bumper, you can throw in a real bird once in awhile to whistle them in to pick up. If you do that randomly, the dog is always wondering if it'll get a bird this time.
I wouldn't recommend this random treat when running pattern blinds though.
No, I did that during pile work with the pile out 40-50 yards. My dog was slow to turn and sit, partly because he's fast and had lots of momentum, and partly because he wanted to get to the bumper more than he wanted to sit and take a cast from me. As a result he was kind of loopy in his sit.

This was suggested to me. I would send him, reach back to a buckett really quick and pull out a bird, and toss it out there. When I sat him, I'd give the come in whistle and he'd stumble over the bird. After doing that for a bit, his turns and sits got pretty fast, and he'd watch me with his ears up, wondering if he was going to get a bird this time or not.

On my second dog I did LOTS of eye contact work while she was a puppy. I always had a pouch of treats on while she was out of ther crate. Any time she would make eye contact with me, I said GOOD, and gave her a treat. I did it for months. Her eye contact is fabulous. When I sent her to the trainer one of his comments after working on FF for a month was that he'd never seen a dog with such good eye contact. :D

That's her in my avatar, giving me eye contact while my wife snaps the picture.
 
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