Kids these days are very precocious because what they see on the TV and even social media may harm their childhood. As a parent, would just want to shield them from all nasty things in the world by simply covering their eyes.
However, if you teach your dog to cover his eyes, he may look innocent enough that when trying to shield his eyes from witnessing an obscene act or event. But when you teach your pet dog to cover his eyes, you may earn a laugh and even an applause from your guests.
How do you do it?
So how do you instruct your dog to cover his eyes? You need to use a simple but effect cue word (or two). The challenge is making your dog understand the action that you want him to do by using the cue word.
You need to set your expectation that this task is going to take a lot of work as your dog isn’t used to covering his eyes. If you have a young dog, you have your work cut out for you as you dog might be able to do this trick in a couple of days.
But if you have an older dog that is getting on the years, its best to set aside a couple of weeks into the training session. The effort spent in this training would be well worth as you know you would get a least a laugh from your love ones. Your dog might also be able to do other commands such as ‘sit’, ‘wait’ and ‘lie down’ with ease.
Just before you start
Before you start with this dog trick, you have to prepare some items that you will need. The most important thing you probably need is the treats for your dog. The more delectable the treat is, the more eager your dog will be in learning this neat trick. It’s best to break down your dog’s treat into smaller pieces when the training begins.
It’s also advisable to train your dog in a space that is quiet and free from distractions. Other things that you would need are a handkerchief, an old T-shirt you would no longer use, and a small stick. Once you have these on hand, you’re all set.
First Method: The Natural Encouragement Method
1. You need to closely observe your dog.
Try to look for situations where you dog would tend to cover his eyes. This would be the easiest way to reinforce this behaviour and make your dog successfully do this trick. Keep a close eye for a couple of days with the help of family members.
2. Slowly introduce the command.
When you see your dog do this behaviour, you can now introduce your cue words. You can use ‘hide’ or any other cue word as long as it is short, easy to remember for your pet. You have to remember to say it in friendly but playful tone for your dog to remember.
3. Time for treats.
When you give him the command to close his eyes, give him a treat and praise your dog. Rewarding him will reinforce the notion that he doing the right thing and you pet will be able establish the connection with the action that he is doing when you are giving him the command to close his eyes. You can do this for a few days until he gets the hang of it.
4. Switch up the command.
Now you have to slowly command your dog when he isn’t unintentionally covering his eyes. This step is very important because you are now switching up the command and introducing the covering eye trick when you dog is not doing this. You have to help out your dog the first few times.
5. Practice, practice, practice.
Try to establish a session around 5-10 minutes a day for the next couple of days. Try to be consistent as this will establish a routine for your dog and help him learn faster. Once he masters this trick, you can now slowly reduce the session until your dog can do command on verbal cue.
Second Method: The Handkerchief Method
1. Blindfold your dog.
For this method, you have to put a blindfold on your dog. It doesn’t have to be a handkerchief; you can use an old t-shirt or anything that can cover your pet’s eyes without it getting sticking and resulting into peeling his fur.
2. Keep his paws still.
Hold your dog’s paws for a few seconds so that the blindfolded t-shirt or handkerchief stays put. This is how you are going to have you dog do this trick. If you dog gets scared, you can take the blindfold off and reassure your pet.
3. Give the cue.
Once you have kept his paw still, you can now use cues like ‘play shy’ or ‘hide’. You can use any cue word when doing this command just make sure that it isn’t similar to any other command. Dogs can learn different commands by using specific cue words.
4. Treat it is.
When your dog reaches his paws in his eyes, you can reward him by giving him a treat. Its showing your dog that when he reaches for his eyes, he’s doing the trick. Showering your dog with verbal praise can reinforce him in doing the trick. Try to set aside at least 5 minutes a day for the first couple of days.
5. Drop the props.
Once you feel that your dog is comfortable, you can drop the blindfold but continue giving the command. Your dog may feel troubled so you can use your hands to gently guide his paws to his eyes.
Add this with rewarding him with treats and praises. You can practice this at least 10 minutes everyday then gradually decrease the rewarding of treats until your dog can do the trick.
Third Method: The Stick Method
1. Eye on the target.
Place a stick in front of your dog, about 3-4 inches long. You are going to use the stick as some sort of target because you would use this to direct your dog’s paw to his face. You would of course need a generous supply of your dog’s favourite treats on hand.
2. Lure him to you.
You need to place yourself in front of your dog, in a crouching position and use the treat to make him come near you. Dogs would naturally go near their owners especially when they have their treats.
3. Introduce the target.
When your dog comes forward and places his paw on the stick, reward him with a treat. Do this for at least 10 minutes for a couple of days. The stick will now act as your cue prop and your dog will understand that this would be his target.
4. Move your target.
Once your dog is familiar with the target, in this case the stick, you can now hold the stick in front of his eyes so that his paw would touch his face. You would then would need to introduce your cue word such as ‘hide’.
You can give him lots of treats and praises when his paw touches the stick. You can practice set up for at least 10 minutes for several days. Make sure that you hold the stick in the place where his paws would touch the stick and make your dog appear that is he covering his eyes.
5. Ditch the stick.
Once you dog is comfortable, you can now remove the stick during training and rely on giving your dog commands or verbal cues. He should now have an idea that the command you are giving him is associated and putting his paw up to cover his face.