This exercise teaches your dog that eye contact pays! The distraction is initially food but this can be replaced with toys once your dog is understanding the rules of the game!
Step 1 Hold out (to your side) two handfuls of treats. Your dog should be facing you. he will likely “ping-pong” back and forth looking at each hand. Wait until he looks directly at your eyes. When that happens, say Yes! and reward.
Step 2) Have your dog on lead while walking him around your property. When the lead goes tight, stand still and wait for eye contact. Don’t say anything to him. I want him to make the right decision. When he makes eye contact, say Yes and reward (food, praise or cuddles). Reward can also be to “go sniff”.
Step 3) Gradually increase distractions so the he has the chance to pull which, means he has the opportunity to make the decision to look back at you. This is the foundation exercise for good lead walking skills and helps to teach your dog that engagement with YOU is important.
When walking on lead, don’t let him get away with pulling (refer to step 2). If distractions are too great (like someone walking towards you) then you need to use your “Let’s go” cue and walk away.