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.
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.
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: