Beginning Basic Obedience Watch Me
· The WATCH ME command is used to get your dog’s attention.
· Once you have your dog’s attention you can give him a command.
· A dog will usually respond better to a command if you have his attention first.
Stage One - Introduction to command.
· Beginning Position - Begin by putting your dog in a frontal sit and showing your dog that you have food, but DO NOT give him the food yet.
· Where to Hold the Food - Keep the food at arm’s length down in front of you right where your dog can smell it and even try to get it out of your hand.
· Making Eye Contact - Do not let your dog have the food until he looks at you, even if he looks only for a couple of seconds. You must begin with very small increments of time and gradually increase the time before you give praise and reward. When a dog is first learning this command you may have to wait a while for him to look at you. Most dogs will wonder why they were not given the food after sitting and eventually look at you as if to ask, “Well, what are you waiting for?!”.
· Tone of Voice - Your tone of voice should be quiet and calm, but don’t drag out the command. The command should be quick and with a hint of excitement in your voice.
· Timing of Command - Give the command immediately when the dog makes eye contact so that he will learn what it means to WATCH.
· You should combine your verbal praise and food reward with the command in this beginning stage. (Fido looks at you and you say “Good watch!” while at the same time giving him the food.)
· Alternate Method - For the dog that doesn’t look at you to see why you have not given him the food yet, you should use the food to guide the dog. Make sure the dog is interested in the food then bring your hand up in front of your eyes and give the command, but do not give the food yet. (This is how you show him what you want.) Bring the food back down to where he can smell it and try to get it then bring your hand up towards your face. You must keep a very close eye on your dog so that the second he looks at you he can be praised and rewarded.
· What Not To Do - You don’t want to reward your dog for looking at the food. Make sure that your dog is looking at you and not the food before you reward him.
· End of Introductory Stage - Once the dog understands what watch me means you can give the command and then as soon as eye contact is made give verbal praise and food reward.
Stage Two - Fine tuning the command.
· So after many, many training sessions you’ve got your dog giving you the eye stare anytime he sits in front of you. Now teach your dog to watch while he sits along your left side.
· Place a small piece of food in your left hand, give the command, if necessary use the food to remind your dog where he should be looking (bring the food up towards your eyes, give the command, bring the food back down to your side), simultaneously give verbal praise and food reward when eye contact is made.
· Have your dog Watch before giving him other commands. (This reinforces this command.)
· Have your dog hold his watch for gradually increasing amounts of time. You can count off seconds to yourself. (This is so that your dog will be attentive towards you during the entire training session.)
· Make sure that you ALWAYS reward this command. (This is so he will want to make eye contact.)
· Make your dog WATCH before he is rewarded with anything (food, petting, release, etc.).