Watch Me

Watch me is great to teach your puppy to focus on you and can dramatically help with the loose lead walking that you will learn soon.

Personally, I like to “capture” this behaviour. This means that as soon as the puppy is looking at me, I click and reward and then I try to keep the eye contact with the puppy by moving a little (I avoid being too static) and reward the puppy for maintaining eye contact.

Another method is:

  • Use a little bit of treat, show it to your puppy and then move the treat near your eyes. As soon as the puppy looks up near your eyes, click and reward. Try to consistently use the same hand and finger placement.
  • When you are starting to get good eye contact with your puppy, fade the lure but keep the same hand and finger placement and add the “Watch me” command whilst the puppy is doing the behaviour (ideally the click and the “Watch me” should be at the same time). Your puppy will start to associate the hand signal and the verbal cue to the behaviour.
  • When the association is good you can start using the verbal cue without the need of the physical cue, although some people choose to keep using the physical cue as well.

Avoid rewarding when your puppy is sitting in front of you otherwise the puppy may misunderstand and associate the behaviour with sitting in front of you instead of watching you. This is the reason why I tend to move a little when I train this exercise, so the puppy has less opportunities to sit.

If your puppy is not food orientated, you can try this game with a toy.