The point of the above exercise is to teach our dogs to face away from distractions on cue. In the above example, I’m teaching Marty McFly to “hide his eyes” between my knees. Once he has learned the behavior, I can request this anytime a potential distraction comes along, to keep his focus on me. This is an excellent tool to use as a warm-up for arrival in a public place, setting up an automatic response from your dog to turn and look at you when you get out of the car.
Once he is offering the behavior on his own, without the use of a hand target, I can drop the hand target altogether and only click and treat those responses which happen on cue. The cue can be “Hide your eyes,” “Hide,” “Focus,” “Here” or anything else you like. Feeding him in the correct position allows me to extend the behavior bit by bit, as I can gradually lengthen the amount of time he waits in position before I reinforce with a treat.
This behavior takes just a few minutes to shape, and with a little practice you can have one more tool for obtaining focus and control from your dog in your toolbox.