Heel and eye contact


Well-Known Member
How do you teach eye contact while walking?

I have gotten in the habit of requiring eye contact while sitting but as soon as we are moving, I've never asked for it. In the living room, I have him sit, rapid fire treats for eye contact to let him know what I'm looking for, and then try to take a step to see if he will maintain eye contact--failure every time. So, I have been barely moving my left leg up and clicking for eye contact, but it's not working so well either. Any tricks to this??

Heel--what is the proper heel position?? :dogwub:


Experienced Member
I'm not entirely sure as I never had a problem teaching a heel with eye contact to my dogs. But I also spend a ton of time teaching eye contact for everything. I hold treats out the to side and wave them around, the dogs have to look at me in order to get the treats. Then I play a "where's the dog?" type of game where the dog is in front of me and then I turn around. I click and treat for the dog finding my eyes and not staring at the back of my head. Then I start moving backwards from the dog, dog facing me, so the dog is following me and looking at me. From there you can see it's pretty simple to get it when the dog is at my side. I don't work on heel position until the dog can do this.

If you've been practicing with the leash I might take it off since a lot of dogs learn that the leash means walk which means free time for them.

Otherwise, you could always hold a treat up by your eyes when you take a step, and then treat right away. Obviously you'd have to fade the treat but this would be an easy method to start.

You ask what's a proper heel- the dog's neck/shoulder region should be aligned with your left hip, about where your pant seem is. Dog and owner should be exactly parallel, no crabbing out (dog's butt swinging out wide) is allowed.

But of course you don't need to aim for this unless you plan to compete. Actually you could even do rally obedience without a perfect heel as long as the dog is close and relatively there.


Experienced Member
i taught koda to heel with her treat at my side, by my knee then it got higher as she learnt to stay at heel, it now sits on my hip and she does the obedience heel quite well, she will look up at my eyes if if i have no treat, (but when im training i always have treats) and you can see if you look closely shes staring at my hip but from far away she looks as if shes looking up at me,

another thing i did, (and you'll want better treats) is i used to stick the treat in my mouth just hanging outside, it can be hard to pronounce the commands but it does get her looking up at my face whatever i do, its usually sausges or other meat i dont mind putting in my mouth so im not disgusted, and i taught her "look" everytime i say that she looks me square in the face, and i spit put the treat


Well-Known Member
Thanks for the help! I think I'm going to have to go with treat lure..nothing else is working :p I have a really hard time fading lures with him, but it will be worth a shot


Experienced Member
Eye contact while heeling is a pretty hard thing to ask for extended periods esp on a pleasure walk. I do require eye contact and intensity when I use our agility class "with me" cue. But for loose leash walking it seems rather restrictive.

For eye contact while heeling the 2 step is the best way I've gotten it. Take two steps click(or mark) THEN STOP then treat in position. Luring works for initial behaviors but then you don't get thinking - just food following. And you'll find luring loses its appeal very fast esp when the payout isn't high for some dogs. Doing two steps and very short distances makes my dog really concentrate to keep up, has a high pay off therefore higher interest. Sets the dog up more for success.

you can also teach a look at me by holding food out at arm’s length and just wait. dogs eyes will flick to you eventually and u click/treat. require longer and longer periods of eye contact. you can also put food in ur mouth and spit it a the dog once you teach them to catch treats on the fly. i thought this was really gross at first when i saw it in agility class but it worked so darn well that i did my time in the spit trenches. I don't do it much now that the behavior is learned but it was very effective. you start where dog can see the treat, then close lips or hide it, be tricky so that he never knows - do they have the treat and do i get it I DON'T KNOW must watch. If my dog looked away i would spit and try to beat her to the treat. oops look what you missed i guess you don't get it. then give them a chance to earn it again.


New Member
I taught my dog to give eye-contact while heeling by shaping it with the clicker. I started with him sitting at heel position and and clicked and treated whenever he looked at my face (not at my hands or treat bag). Then gradually lengthened the time to a few seconds, this is while still sitting in heel position. Then when he would hold eye contact in this stationary position for a few seconds then I would say 'heel' and take one step and click and treat if he held eye contact. then lengthen to two steps, and so on.

before, I was rewarding his heel with food and toy rewards but not using the clicker. This had the effect of him always looking at my hand anticipating the delivery of the reward. When I used the clicker then he was waiting to hear the click before looking for the food (or toy) reward.

another thing you can do is to spit the food rewards at him, so the food is coming from your mouth. This way the dog looks at your face the way he would otherwise look at your hand.


Experienced Member
I cheated with eye-contact, as Pami is not a big dog, she already has to look up hight if she wants to see the treat in my hand, so it looks like she is looking into my eyes.
When I don't have treats, she looks into my eyes, but just because she is like that. :) She needs eye-contact.