Attention Game #1 – “Watch Me”

Load your pocket or pouch with treats and get your clicker if you are using it.  Go to a non-distracting environment.

Click/yes and treat 5-10 times as a warm up.  (It doesn’t matter what your dog is doing.)

Then, just stand there, ready and waiting.   As soon as the dog makes eye contact, click or yes and treat.  Eye contact can be fast and momentary !!!  Try to catch it when it happens.  Some dogs don’t make eye contact right away.  You may need to wait for a few seconds for yours to do so.

What if your dog doesn’t make eye contact?   You can sit down or kneel so its easier for him to see your face.  This may be especially helpful for small dogs.   Or, you can shape the eye contact behavior by clicking or treating any small attention to you, such as a tiny turn of the head, movement of the ears or paws, or looking at your knees.  Gradually you can increase the criteria from, say, a looking at your knees to looking at your chest.

Resist the temptation to help your dog by saying his name, or making noises at this stage.

Once your dog is looking at you regularly, add the cue.  Say “Watch me!” in a happy voice, and when your dog does make eye contact, click or yes and drop the treat on the floor.  When he is just about done eating it and sniffing the ground, say “Watch me”  and click or yes and treat.  Repeat this 10-15 times.

Once you have mastered this in a non-distracting area, go outside to your yard or to another low distraction place. Throughout the day and in lots of locations click or yes and treat your dog for looking at your eyes.

About Laurene

Laurene von Klan is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer serving West Los Angeles
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