How to Train Your Dog to Watch You

Curious about how to regain your pup's attention while in a busy park or crowd? The "Watch Me" command is a simple and quick solution. Learn how to use it here.

Canines of all ages are curious and distracted by many things that go unnoticed by us humans. Too often, in an attempt to regain control of our pets, a correction is made, rather than a command. At ECAD, we use the “Watch Me” command when our pups are unfocused and distracted by outside stimuli and we need to reconnect, thus regaining control without having to correct.

“Watch Me!” is a simple command with a huge impact. The “Watch Me” command often replaces the pup’s name. As mentioned in How to Call Your Dog by Their Name (And Have Them Listen!), your pup’s name as a command says, “Buster, I am talking to you!” Whereas, “Watch Me” says, “Buster, stop doing ‘that’ and look at me!”

Sound too good to be true? Pet parents, fear not, this command is real, and truly works wonders. So, how do we get Buster to learn this miracle command?

The "Watch Me" Command

“Watch Me” means to make eye contact.

When to use: This command will become your ‘go-to’ command when you are in need of regaining control of your curious furry four-legged family member both on and off leash.

Teaching Method:

Step 1: Environment for Success

Step 2: Learning the Behavior

Step 3: Reinforcing the Behavior

Step 4: Integrating the Command

Step 5: Extended Eye Contact

Note: Your pup must keep full eye contact with you to receive the reward. If Buster’s eyes wander, quickly say “No!” followed by “Watch Me” and return to step 4. Buster is not 100% ready to hold eye contact yet.

Goal: Ultimately, you want your pup to hold eye contact with you for 20 seconds while your arms are fully extended. Once successfully reaching this goal three times consistently, you are ready to move on to step 6.

Step 6: Reducing Cues

Congratulations, you have successfully completed the “Watch Me” training tip. At this point, your own creativity will need to come into play. The command “Watch Me” can be used when your pup is lying down or across the room. Use “Watch Me” when a person enters your quiet room, or in the yard as a person or animal walks by. Good Luck!

Last Week’s Lesson

How to Teach Your Dog “Yes” and “No”

Next Week’s Lesson

How to Start Your Dog Peeing in the Yard

Back to 20 Dog Commands You Need to Know

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All training tips in this series are from ECAD (Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities), a non-profit organization dedicated to training service dogs for veterans with disabilities. Learn more about ECAD.

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