Watch Me

09/02/2022

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WATCH ME

There are lots of distractions out and about in the world and getting your puppy to want to pay attention to you is so important. One of the games you can play to increase your puppy’s focus on you and enable you to get your puppy’s attention is the ‘Watch Me’ game. In this video you are going to learn how to teach your puppy to make and hold eye contact so that they can engage with you, even when there are big distractions around.

To start with show your puppy a tasty treat and hold it to the side of your head. Make sure there is enough of a gap between the treat and your eyes, so that you can tell if your puppy is looking at the treat or gazing at you.

Wait for your puppy to look away from the food and towards you before you mark and reward them with the treat in your hand.

Soon your puppy will realise that to unlock the treat all they need to do is look at you and make eye contact.

When your puppy is making quick eye contact every time you can start to introduce a verbal cue – ‘watch me’. Say the cue just before you raise your hand.

When your puppy makes eye contact, mark and reward.

After several repetitions your puppy will understand that the cue ‘watch me’ means make eye contact. At this stage you don’t need to continue using your hand signal and you can start to test your puppy’s understanding when you don’t use a visual prompt.

Start to encourage your puppy to hold eye contact for a longer duration, by waiting for longer before marking and rewarding. Your puppy should keep eye contact until you mark. It’s ok to drop back to an easier step if your puppy is struggling at any point.

If they do well with this, try it when they are facing away from you. In real life situations your puppy will be looking at something else when you cue them to watch, so be sure to practice in a variety of scenarios and reward your puppy generously, every time they are successful.

As always, make sure you train at your puppy’s pace and step the difficulty up or down to ensure that they are successful and learning remains fun.

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