Tip & How-To about Dogs

The Watch Me. The first command to teach your dog.

Watch Me

The Watch Me command is the first one we teach the dogs. Without the dog's attention, there is little training possible! This command will teach the dog to focus on us when we speak to him. It is also used to maintain his focus while we have him under command.

The first step in teaching this command is to get the dog to look at us - then we reward him for looking. It's that simple! When I say reward, at first give a small treat every time it is successful. Then mix the treats with "Good Girl" and slowly wean off the treats.

Try the following tips as you say, "Watch Me"...

  • Snap your fingers in front of his nose then draw your hand up towards your face.
  • With a treat in your hand, show the dog your hand and then draw your hand up to your face.
  • Use a happy voice.
  • High pitched voices are more interesting to a dog.
  • Make an interesting or unusual sound.
  • Remember that in dog training, timing is everything!

If you are even one second late with the reward, you will be teaching her to look away! By the end of the week, try to get the dog to watch you for about 10 or 15 seconds. And she need not look you in the eye - the point is that she is paying attention, that is all. Slowly increase the time the dog is required to look. After the first week, expect about a 20-30 second uninterrupted stare (less for puppies).

Then, add distractions. Have someone else make a noise off to the side of the dog tempting her to look away. If she does look away, refocus her. Eventually she will learn YOU have the treats and only YOU will be giving the reward.

After you have your dog responding to you and PAYING ATTENTION, you can easily move on to more common commands like Sit, Come, and Stay.

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