Dog Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there.
I just took my 15 week old pup to his first puppy class and the lesson of the day was the "watch me" command. I've been to lots of other classes with other dogs and have never heard of this before so it was news to me. He was much too excited and distracted to get anywhere with that lesson but I promised I'd work on it with him at home. As I do, I wonder if I even want to bother with this command. I'm not quite sure I see the point of it and it might just tend to confuse him (he's picked up other tricks I've taught him ver y quickly). I mean, when I call his name he comes running towards me and if he's already near me, I call his name and he looks at me, so what's the difference between calling his name or commanding him to watch me?

When I call him to me and tell him to sit so that I can work on "watch me" he's ALREADY looking at me, so I don't know how to teach him to make eye contact with that command. Or if I even need to.

Any thoughts or opinions (or suggestions) regarding the "Watch Me" command?
Sue
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
500 Posts
Watch me...or "Look at me" as I use has been one of the most valuable tools in our training. It teaches them to focus on you and becomes more critical as the distractions get higher and they start to get more independent. Right now the pup is 100% engaged with you...but trust me, that WILL change.

Having a dog that has the ability to "look at me" and focus 100% on me while other dogs are literally fighting around him is clutch. For Pax it is can also act a a calming technique when he is getting over stimulated or is just being a brat in general and needs a time out for a second. It also conditions them to constantly check in with you visually.

Very valuable tool that needs to be drilled constantly to be effective. Don't think of it as a "trick" even though that is how it starts out...think of it as a behavior regulator that at about 2 years old you will be tankful you have!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,398 Posts
Watch me...or "Look at me" as I use has been one of the most valuable tools in our training. It teaches them to focus on you and becomes more critical as the distractions get higher and they start to get more independent.
Couldn't have said it better.

"Eyes" is my verbal command as well as my dog's trained default behavior most often, especially before any type of a release.

Yeah, you could train a dog to focus on your right foot if you chose but the eyes of the handler are formidable and magical to many a dog and in my opinion it not only requires focus on the dog's behalf but it creates a particular bond between dog and human which contradicts this notion regarding eye contact. Having one's dog stare them down awaiting direction when the obvious is present or at many times not, somewhat solidifies the team concept and makes the overall relationship easier for all involved.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well alrighty then - I will definitely teach MYSELF a new trick and work on this with my pup. He is such a spaz and HAS such a short attention span (basically, a typical puppy) so it will require lots of practice and reinforcement. I think I'm going to have to pull out the super-duper treats for this "trick" but the poor guy is so motivated and eager to please he goes through his littany of tricks trying to get the treat out of me. Trying to explain to him that I want him to do nothing but LOOK at me is going to be tough to get through to him. Wish I had taught that one first.

Thanks for the feedback... I really had no former experience with this command. Maybe it was a good time to change instructors for a change of pace.
Sue
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
I have yet to work on this command, but this is thread reminds me I need to get this one down soonest. As others have said, it is foundational. Essentially, it is the "pay attention to me" and only me command you will need precisely for those times when distractions abound.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
As Pax and DriveDog already mentioned this command is very valuable. Essentially, training for you dog to look at you, is training it to pay attention to you. Training your dog to pay attention to you is sooo very important. Even more so when focusing entirely on positive reinforcement training methods. Without having your dog's attention it is very difficult to teach your dog anything.

Training for your dog’s attention teaches them to be a good student, which is someone who sits quietly and waits to be instructed. It is so much easier to teach a dog everything else once this foundation is in place.

I also find that teaching your dog to pay attention or to watch you, is a great way to be present with your dog. Your dog can tell when you are not paying attention, which is why this type of training will not work when you are distracted. For this reason alone I love training this, and I still do, even though both of my puppies are almost about a year old now.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,398 Posts
Hi there.

When I call him to me and tell him to sit so that I can work on "watch me" he's ALREADY looking at me, so I don't know how to teach him to make eye contact with that command.
First, he's a pup so any duration of a "watch me " response per your command should be rewarded and praised. As the pup matures, your expectations should increase.

Since the pup is already offering the eye contact, just use whatever your verbal command is when you get the behavior. Easiest place I have found to introduce a pup to my " eyes" command is over their food bowl. Issue your command as you are holding the food bowl in line with your eyes and the dog's eyes which will automatically have the pup making eye contact ( even if the pup is actually looking at the food bowl ). Instantly mark the behavior and reward. Do the same with any treat or toy, issue your command as you lure the pup's eyes towards yours. The instant eye contact is made, mark it with your positive verbal marker or clicker and then reward along with some "GOOD watch me" along with your pup's name. As the pup gets used to the command and behavior, start to make it tougher. Take the lure ( food bowl, treat, toy etc.) and start to hold it a bit off of a direct line between your eyes and the pup's. Command for the pup's "watch me" and the moment the pup looks you in the eyes instead of the lure, make it a huge party as you mark and reward. Then you can build a bit of duration before marking and rewarding. Eventually, you can put whatever item you might be using on the floor and the pup should give you his eyes when asked instead of staring at the lure. Ultimately, whenever you have your dog on a command awaiting a release, the dog will default to staring at your eyes. Make it easy in the beginning as well as fun for the pup.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
Wow. Got to work on this last night, during and after the walk. A treat held at the bridge of my nose, and she looks up intently, even when mildly distracted. After a few tries, she was doing it without a treat. Very quick learning which I intend to reinforce through the next few walk sessions.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SueAndHerZoo

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Another question, if I may: I've read that once this command is learned it can be used to stop them from doing an unwanted behavior by changing their focus and distracting them from whatever they were doing that you want to stop. This afternoon while I was home for lunch I was in the kitchen and the pup was about 20 feet away from me harassing his older brother (the pug). I wanted him to stop and walked over there to stop him and give him a toy instead, but if he were already familiar with the "Watch me" command, would I have used it at this time from 20 feet away? Or would I call his name, ask him to come to me, and THEN ask him to watch me? I'm still confused about when to use their name, call them, or tell them to "watch me".
Sue
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Oh, great video - I was making a bigger deal out of this command than I needed to - I need to remember to keep things simple and then develop it over time. I'm going to go look up some more of his videos - I like his style! Thanks for sharing.
Sue
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,398 Posts
.................................................................... I'm still confused about when to use their name, call them, or tell them to "watch me".
Sue
Do whatever you are doing to keep that pup running back to you when you recall him. Introduce all the other particulars ( which are all essentially the same or related )as you capture more of your pup's attention/focus/engagement/who cares what it's called but you know what I'm talking about.

Name = maybe the dog should give you eye contact but at least it's attention if the dog's name is used when you vocalize it in the "tone" associated with obedience. Or using the dog's name before issuing a command if you feel the dog is lacking a bit at that moment. Most importantly, IMHO when the pup either executes appropriately or gives a quality effort, use that pup's name with praise along with the task just completed. Your tone will be learned by your pup whenever you use the dog's name, they're not that stupid.:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
They are definitely not stupid - often times my dogs outsmart me and I swear they are absolutely capable of logic, reasoning, and plotting. :)

Thanks for the tips - his second puppy class is tomorrow - not feeling optimistic about it but will definitely go. If I feel it's as useless as the first one was, I may forfeit the money and use the time elsewhere, like a dog park.
Sue
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top