To get a new or young dog to pay attention to the handler when it is distracted by other things can sometimes be quite difficult. Teaching a Watch Me command can come in handy many times. It may not be a command I use as frequently once the dog is trained, but it is wonderful for young adolescent dogs as well as older dogs beginning training. We also use this command to build confidence in shy or fearful dogs, to help reduce dominant traits, and to teach dogs that eye contact with humans is a beautiful thing!
Very easy command to teach for most dogs. And easy for the handlers to learn.
Follow the steps below:
Holding a treat in your hand, bring the treat down to the dog's nose (tempting his or her olfactory sense) and then bring your hand (with the treat) up to your nose area. This teaches the dog the association of looking up into your face.
As you bring the treat up to your facial area, tell the dog Watch Me.
Try to encourage the dog to maintain eye contact, without repeating Watch Me. If the dog starts to look away, you can whistle, make a noise or some way to get the dog's attention back on you.
The goal is to teach the dog to hold eye contact for up to 24 seconds. The handler should be the one to break the eye contact by releasing the dog into Free. At that time, the handler can give the dog the treat.
At most, I may work this command 5 times a day for the newer dogs. The treat is weaned out of the training, once the dog will reliably look up into the handler's eyes when they hear Watch Me and will hold that eye contact until the handler says Free.
This command is useful in situations such as:
a) The dog is getting into the garbage or trash bucket. If the handler runs up to the dog saying "NO NO", the dog will most likely grab an item and run like the wind. If the handler calmly says "Rover Watch Me", the dog will automatically swing its head around and look up at the handler's eyes. Now the handler can remove any unwanted items from the dog or call the dog out of the room - without any excess emotion or chase game.
b) There may be something approaching such as another dog that your dog may not be friendly with or vice versa. You could certainly ask your dog to Watch Me and hold the Stay rather than your dog pulling and lunging towards the other dog.
This is not a command we use all the time, but it is a fun command that is easy to learn.If a young dog should happen to jump up on the handler when given the command, the handler should not say "OFF OFF". Instead bump the dog or use the hockey hip check to get the dog off, but try to maintain the eye contact. Too many verbal words will reduce the attention that the handler is trying to build.
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