How do you get reliable eye contact and recall from a very independent dog/breed?

As a specialized dog trainer, I have come across countless dogs with varying degrees of independence. Some breeds like the Shiba Inu, Afghan Hound or Basenji are notorious for their aloofness and self-pride, often making it challenging to establish a strong connection with their owners. However, over my years of experience, I have learned various techniques to make it possible to get reliable eye contact and recall from even the most independent of dogs.

The first step in achieving a strong bond with your independent dog is to establish yourself as the pack leader. Dogs are pack animals, and their natural instinct is to follow and obey their leader. Therefore, as the owner, you must assume the role of the leader and gain your dog’s trust and respect. Train your dog to be obedient and responsive to your commands. The use of positive reinforcement techniques like verbal praise, treats and toys can work wonders in shaping desirable behaviour and establishing a strong bond with your dog.

Another technique that can help get reliable eye contact and recall from an independent dog is to make use of high-value treat rewards. Independent dogs are not easily swayed by regular dog treats; they need something high-value to get their attention. Determine what treat your dog loves the most and use it as a reward for good behaviour. Only treat your dog when they’ve accomplished something positive, such as maintaining eye contact or executing the come command. This reinforces the desirable behaviour without allowing your dog to become complacent.

Furthermore, building a strong bond with your independent dog requires patience, consistency, and regular training sessions. Don’t force the dog to spend time with you but allow them to come to you at their own pace. Dogs like to feel in control and forcing them to do things will only cause rebellion. Instead, focus on incremental training sessions, starting with simple commands like sit, stay and come, before moving on to more complex tasks.

Another tip is to make training sessions fun and engaging. Independent dogs are easily bored, so be creative with your training methods. Use interactive toys, play hide-and-seek, or even take your dog to a new environment to keep them engaged and interested. This will help foster a strong bond over time, and your furry friend will eventually turn to you for guidance and comfort.

In conclusion, getting reliable eye contact and recall from an independent dog requires a lot of patience, consistency and positive reinforcement. Establish yourself as the pack leader, make use of high-value treat rewards, engage in fun and interactive training sessions, and above all, be patient. These simple techniques, when implemented with care, will help strengthen the bond with your independent dog, making them an even more cherished friend.

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