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Teaching Your Dog the "Watch Me" Command

If my dog is watching me instead of watching everything else going on around it, my dog will be a lot more calm and much less likely to get into trouble!!!

The first step in this type of training is to teach the dog the "watch me" command. Teaching the "Watch Me" command consists of four things:

1. Call your dog by name.
2. Wait for the dog to make eye contact with you
3. Say "good - watch me" in a friendly, pleased voice
4. Give your dog a treat while you have eye contact

Repeat!

If your dog is not making consistent eye contact, move the treat, or your finger and thumb, to the side of your head next to your eye in order to get his/her attention to your face. At the very second you notice eye contact being made say "good - watch me" in a friendly, pleased voice. 

Your timing is crucial. You MUST get the "good - watch me" response on time with the dog making eye contact in order to get your dog to understand what you want. Then repeat this several times over a couple of minutes. Once you have your dog's attention, you can move on to the next part of the training.

Now call your dog by name and add "watch me" and as soon as your dog makes eye contact say "good - watch me" and reward your dog with a treat.

You can reinforce the "watch me" command even when you are not training. Simply saying "good - watch me" and reward your dog every time it makes eye contact with you. An example of this would be when your dog is watching you make lunch or supper, or when it wants to go outside. Another good time might be when your dog is laying on the floor in front of you. As you get out of your chair or off of the sofa your dog will most likely get up to see what you are doing. So when it makes eye contact with you, you can simply say "good - watch me" and then reward with a treat.

Over a very short time your dog will give you a large amount of eye contact. The command "watch me" will become an automatic attention command to your dog. Eventually you will be able to decrease the amount of treats you give as a reward until your dog executes the "watch me" without expecting a treat..

Once the watch me command is in place, you can use it to teach your dog a wide variety of commands and tricks.

I know, it sounds simple doesn't it? Well, that's because it is! Believe me, it can make a huge difference to your training. Being able to get your dog's attention when you want it can be critically important someday and may even save your dog's life.

As with all training, keep the sessions under 10 minutes in length and do something that the dog likes to do when the session ends. This will keep your dog interested in training and because there is a "fun time" after the training it will make the dog more willing to train well.



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