Train Your Dog to Ask for Help


Provide your dog with an effective tool to express their needs.

Findings of many comparative studies underscore the remarkable ability of dogs to communicate with humans in a distinct manner. This communication, though non-verbal, is an essential aspect of the human-canine relationship.

Canine communication facts

  1. Dogs are more inclined to orient themselves towards humans than many other animals. This suggests that dogs possess a unique predisposition to communicate with humans when they require assistance.
  2. Dogs display a quicker tendency to look towards humans for help. This rapid response highlights the strong bond and communication channel that dogs have developed with humans.
  3. Dogs exhibit a higher frequency of alternating their gaze between humans and any unsolvable task. This behavior indicates their inherent understanding that humans could potentially provide a solution.

By understanding and reinforcing the ways dogs ask for help, we can enhance their well-being and strengthen our bond with them.

Teaching the “Puppy Eyes” Look

According to a study by Bentosela et al., (2020), dogs can indeed be trained to use specific behaviors to ask for help, such as the endearing “puppy eyes” look. The study demonstrated that dogs can learn to look at their owners to signal their needs in exchange for a treat. Here’s a simple guide to help you train your dog:

  1. Meaningful Look: Make the association clear by using a command like “Look at me” while offering a treat. This establishes the connection between the behavior and the reward.
  2. Consistent Reinforcement: Each time your dog gives you the desired look, reward them with a treat. Consistency is key to reinforcing the behavior.
  3. Context Variation: Practice the behavior in different contexts and environments. This helps your dog generalize the behavior, understanding that it’s relevant across various situations.

Dogs are quick learners. With as little as a few short training sessions, your dog can grasp the concept of using the “puppy eyes” to ask for help.

Our four-legged companions have an incredible capacity for non-verbal communication, seeking our assistance in their own unique ways. Through scientific studies, we’ve gained insights into their behaviors, allowing us to strengthen our bond and enhance their well-being. By training your dog to use the “puppy eyes” look, you can provide them with an effective tool to express their needs, leading to a happier and more harmonious relationship between you and your furry friend.


Mariana Bentosela, Gabriela Barrera, Adriana Jakovcevic, Angel M. Elgier, Alba E. Mustaca (2008). Effect of reinforcement, reinforcer omission and extinction on a communicative response in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris), Behavioral Processes, Volume 78, Issue 3, Pages 464-469, ISSN 0376-6357,


Dr. Omer Rashid earned his veterinary degree in 2002 from University of Agriculture Faisalabad, and quickly followed that with a Master’s degree in Parasitology. He worked for several years in veterinary practice with small animals, as well as horses and livestock. He studied advanced pharmacology at Charles Darwin University in Australia, and discovered his love for writing while working as a science writer for a research company with clients such as Harvard, Stanford and Cambridge universities. Along the way, Dr. Rashid developed an interest in integrative veterinary health, and he joined Redstone Media Group as Associate Editor of IVC Journal and veterinary content developer in 2022.