Command: Watch Me

Overview: This is a great command to introduce to your growing puppy or new dog.

This command is best learned while your dog wears a collar and leash (for control of behavior).

Dog being trained to watch owner

Step 1:

Take a treat in your right hand and lower it to your dog’s nose, then raise it slowly towards your face (finish between your eyes). Your dog should follow the treat with his eyes and end up looking at your face, as that’s where the treat is. Mark the behavior of your dog (YES), wait a second and reward.

Repeat this step several times until your dog understands what you are asking them to do.

Step 2:

Lower another treat to your dog’s face and then up to yours …this time follow this by moving it behind your back. Your dog will most likely follow where the treat went. Be quiet and say nothing. Your dog may stare for a few seconds in the direction he saw the treat go. He may try to follow your hand around behind your back. If he does, simply step on the leash he’s wearing, so that it becomes short. Now he cannot follow the treat or get behind you. At some point your dog is going to look at you as if to ask “where did it go? “. The instant he does this, use your marker word and bring the treat out and reward. If possible, change hands behind your back so the treat is now coming from the other hand (left hand) so the treat comes from somewhere else, not from where he was staring. Repeat until your dog glances in the direction that the treat disappeared but then looks at you to hear his marker word followed by the reappearance of the treat.

Step 3:

On about Day 3, when your dog has figured out this game, start adding a little time between the eye contact and the marker word. Pause momentarily when he looks at you before using your marker word, then start adding a little more time …bit by bit. Your goal is five seconds. Don’t go too fast on this. Five seconds is a long long time!

Step 4:

When your dog will hold eye contact with you for five seconds, it is time to bring food back out in sight and see if you dog understands that it is focusing on you, not on the visible food that will result in him getting the reward. Now place food in each hand (again step on the leash here as we don’t want your dog to jump up). Bring both hands to your dog’s nose, raise them to your face as before but now take them out to each side of your body, horizontal with your shoulders. Your dog will see two treats, on either side of you and may look at one treat or the other. Wait. Stay silent! When your dog makes eye contact, use your marker word instantly, and reward from the opposite hand that he was looking at. Your dog may glance back-and-forth from one hand to the other, so be ready to catch the second that his eyes cross your eyes on his way to looking at the opposite hand. Mark that split second, don’t worry about him concentrating on your face until he starts to understand this new game.

Step 5:

Add a verbal cue to the exercise. Up until now, I have asked you to remain silent
except for your marker word when your dog makes the right choice. Now we are going to
give this skill a name. Most people use “Watch“ or “Look”. You can use whatever you
want. Introduce the cue by showing your dog the treats and as you raise your arms out to
your side, speak your cue word just before your dog makes the eye contact. You may choose
to use his name followed by the cue word or just the cue word itself.

Step 6:

Go back to waiting a second or two before using your marker word. Build your time
up again until your dog will hold eye contact with you for five seconds before you mark and

Good luck, remember be patient and consistent and your dog will reward you by understanding and wanting to build engagement with you …!

Questions? Text Gordon Directly!

Text: (310) 344-0314