2:46 am   

Watch Me!

When a dog engages in unwanted behavior, from dragging you on the leash to running off with your shoe, how do you get the dog's attention? Dogs are often like children in that if they do not "see" you, they do not "hear" you. Teach the "Watch Me" command so that you can redirect your distracted dog's attention back to you.

Megan Eibs of Common Sense Dog Training:

Take a treat, place it on the dog's nose and say "Rover, watch me" while luring his nose up toward your eyes. As soon as he makes eye contact, say "Good watch me" and pop the treat in his mouth quickly while repeating "what a good watch me."

Trainer Gina Hayes:

Take a really smelly tasty type of treat, place it in your index finger, and place the finger up by your nose. This will help cue the dog to look up at you. At this same time, say "Rover, Watch Me" in an excited happy tone.

In the beginning the dog may look up for 2 seconds and look away. The minute he looks away the exercise is finished. Praise him "Good Watch Me, Rover. Good Boy." Build up the length of time he will hold your gaze till he can do it for 20 seconds. Most dogs can do this after two weeks if it is worked consistently.

Once the dog is successful at this in the house, then I will start the dog outside on a leash or in a fenced back yard. In the back yard, as the dog is sniffing or playing around, call the dog "Rover, Watch Me." If the training has been done consistently and the dog has learned the command inside, he will watch you outside as well. It's so cool to watch a dog who is sniffing something really good or playing with other dogs respond and look up at their owners when asked to.

When the dog is doing this stage well, now we start to walk them around other dogs, starting with just one or two to begin. As the dog starts to focus in on the other dogs, stop it by saying "Rover, Watch Me." As he responds, praise him, "Good boy, Rover, Good Watch Me." Keep his attention on you for a few minutes.

Trainer Mary Harwelik:

I require the dog to watch me and reward as he's watching. At first I require that he watches only a short time, but if he looks away, he doesn't get the treat. As time goes on, I'll ask for a longer "watch me," to the point where we can do, say, an entire heeling pattern with the dog looking up at me.

Teach your dog to make eye contact for a cookie or some other thing she really loves. Start by getting her attention and getting her to look in your eyes. Gaze back at her with a soft, friendly eye. As soon as she does (and you have to be quick because it may only be a second at first), tell her "Good!" and give her a cookie. After she's doing it regularly with you, have friends/family members who she knows do it, and then try to work in people who she doesn't know so well.

Basically, you want to teach her that eye contact means good things -- someone looks at her, she gets a treat.


Last Updated: July 02, 2013 (LET) PawSupport