Teaching your Dog to “Watch Me”

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Definition:

“Watch me, look at my face, and focus on me.”

Practical uses:

“Watch Me” is a useful behavior when you want to get your dog’s focus on you instead of something like another dog, a squirrel, or other temptations.

How to teach:

Do something to get your dog’s attention—move quickly or make a noise with your mouth—when the dog looks at your face, click and treat (C/T). Use different actions/sounds to get the dog to look at you and don’t always reward in the same body position (for example, make sure the dog isn’t always sitting when you C/T).

Get in the habit, even when not training, to C/T whenever your dog looks at you. This rewards “checking in” and encourages your dog to look to you for direction and guidance.

Adding the cue:

When the dog is offering the behavior (looking at your face without your having to do something to get her attention), begin saying the cue word (“ watch me” or “look”) as she looks at you, so that the dog associates the behavior with the word.

In your next training session, start by saying the cue word before the dog looks at you. After a few repetitions, wait for the dog to look away, and then use your cue word. If she looks at you, you know she understands the cue.

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