How to train a dog intimidated by eye contact?

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sourced from: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dogtraining/comments/c05uja/how_to_train_a_dog_intimidated_by_eye_contact/

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I recently adopted a 1 ish year old dog. She’s pretty timid, but happy and sweet. Her biggest fears seem to be anything new or unfamiliar and humans. She’s scared of any new human, and even with people she knows she doesn’t like attention directed at her.

She’ll run up to me and get gentle pets and scritches but as soon as I start trying to talk to her and train her, she runs back to her crate. So far I’ve just been trying to get her to sit by hold the treat over her head and moving it back, but though she loves food she doesn’t follow it. She just stares for a few seconds and runs away. She is also a lot more likely to follow me or come up to me if I’m facing away from her, so I know direct eye contact intimidates her, I’m just not sure how to work with that in training when the first thing I usually teach is “watch me.”

Right now I’m trying not to push her too much. She’s making a ton of progress in other areas, she let me put her leash on without running to her crate yesterday for the first time, she also used the stairs without being carried for the first time, all within the first week I’ve had her. But I want to start working with her without scaring her, so any tips are appreciated.

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