Tips and Tricks Tuesday: Watch Me Command

The Environment:

  • Make sure you are in a controlled environment, with minimal distractions and you have lots of small treats on hand.

Learning the Behavior:

  • Get down nearer your dog’s level and have them sit.
  • Being completely silent, hold a treat in each hand and bring them to your dog’s nose to smell so they know you have them. Don’t feed your dog the treat yet.
  • Extend your arms out in different directions and out of the reach of your pup. Your pup will likely look at your hands, possibly even jump at them
  • The moment your dog returns their attention to you making eye-contact, immediately reward them with a “Yes!” and both treats

Reinforcing the Behavior

  • Continue this sequence until your pup understands eye contact is the rewarded behavior.

Bring in the Command Word:

  • While both arms are extended out, say the command “Watch me.” Only say the command once, using any command multiple times enforces to the pup it does not need to respond immediately.
  • As soon as your dog’s eyes meet yours, repeat “Yes! Watch me!” and dispense the treats

Continue working with your pup to require longer eye-contact before they receive the treat reward.  A dog who has mastered the watch me command will be easier to control in situations the present lots of distractions, and will help keep your dog focused for future training.