The Watch Me Dog Command

By Janice Jones     |Last Updated 02-14-2020

The Watch Me dog command is exactly as it sounds—you train your dog to pay attention to you by watching your face.  Mastering this command is important because it provides the groundwork for all other training.  After all, you can't do much training if you can't get their attention.

Some dogs do not have a very long attention span, especially puppies,  so teaching this basic command trains them to focus and pay attention.  Puppies are notorious for having a short if non-existent attention span, so teaching these simple words may not be as easy as it sounds.  It takes patience, but most puppies and adult dogs can master this one. 

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The Watch Me Dog Command

The Goal of “Watch Me” Dog Command:
To get your dog to make eye contact and focus on you.

Supplies Needed:
Yummy Treats, either store bought or homemade—choose something you know your dog will love.

Procedure for Watch Me Dog Command

You should choose a place in your home where there are no other distractions (other dogs, cats, kids, the TV,) where it will be quiet.  Let other family members know what you are doing so they don't disrupt the training.  It is better to start indoors, as there will likely be many more sights and sounds that will distract your dog.  

Before beginning you will need some treats and a clicker if you are using one to train your dog.  Since you are inside, you won't need to use a leash.

You can decide which words work best for you:  "Look" and "Watch me" are popular terms.  You will also begin each command with your dog's name.  If your dog knows his name well, saying it will be all you need to get his attention.

  1. Say your dog's name and then "look" or "watch me."  If he does, immediately treat and praise.  If not, go to step two.

  2. Start with the treat between your fingers in front of your dog’s nose.  Slowly move the treat towards your face.  You are luring him into doing what you want him to do. When your dog makes eye contact, praise him and give the treat.

  3. Do it again, but this time as your dog makes eye contact, say, Yes, Watch Me and give the treat.

  4. Practice until your dog will respond to your voice command, “Watch Me” or "look" without having to follow the treat from his nose to your face.  

  5. Once your dog is fairly consistently responding to your command, try a different area of the home where there are more distractions such as when other family members may be moving around.  Continue to practice until you are getting the response you want under distracting situations.

  6. Move outside and try again.  It is likely you will want to attach a harness and leash unless you have a securely fenced area.  Even so, for training purposes, and an easier way to control the situation, hold one end of the leash in one hand while giving the command and treats.

Tips for teaching the "Watch It" Command

If your dog is having difficulty focusing and responding to your command, consider changing the type of treat.  A more valuable treat (fresh chicken or beef) will likely get their attention faster than a commercially available packaged treat. Give one small treat so that you know your dog is going to love it and respond to your requests to get more of that tasty tidbit.

Proofing is another way of saying practicing a skill in a variety of different settings under different circumstances.  Proofing is important for any new skill you will teach your dog for one very important reason:  Dogs' brains work somewhat like a very young toddlers in that they don't always learn how to generalize.  By generalize, I mean that your puppy may understand what "watch me" or "looks like" when you are sitting at your kitchen table with a bag of treats.  But if you move into the bedroom, deck or into your back yard, he may not realize that he can also "look" in a different location.  

You want his brain to understand that the command, "look" or "watch me" is the same no matter where he is located.  This takes a bit of time.

This simple command will be needed every time you want to focus your dog’s attention to learn a new trick.  Think of yourself as a teacher.  No good teacher would ever try to teach a lesson unless she/he had the attention of the students.  Dogs are no exception—they need to learn to focus their attention too! if you enjoyed this discussion on "Watch Me", you might like to check out our other pages in the puppy training series.

Other Commands You Might Like to Teach Your Dog:





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About Janice

Janice is the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu. Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, she served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu.

When not writing, reading, or researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, her husband, and her family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Small Dog Place and Smart-Knit-Crocheting.