The first command and one of the hardest for a new puppy to learn is the “Watch Me” command. This should be taught before any of the other basic obedience training commands is started. The “Watch Me” command is used to get the dogs attention.
The reason the “Watch Me” command is so important in a training program is because if an owner does not have the dogs attention, how is it going to listen? This is a very difficult command because puppies tend to want to play and listen when they prefer. By teaching this command, your dog will learn that you need its attention when told.
The first step for teaching this command is to start the pup playing. What you play is not important, the main thing is to get the puppy paying attention to playing and not you. While playing take a treat with a strong smell, such as a cutup hotdog, and wave it in front of the pups face. This will get the puppies attention immediately. Once the pup is interested move the treat to under your chin and say “Watch Me”. Wait until the puppy looks at you in the eyes then praise it and give it the treat.
As the puppy begins to learn to follow the treat and has a general idea it should look at you when you say “Watch Me” then the training should be taken to the next level. While playing with the puppy, place the treat at your nose and say the “Watch Me” command. Wait for the pup to look and then treat. After a little while of this the puppy will begin to recognize the command.
Finally begin to wean the pup from the treats and simply praise them for looking when commanded. In no time at all you will be able to have your pups attention, no mater what it is doing. Remember that different dogs learn at different rates and to keep training sessions short. The most important thing is for you and your pup to be having a great time with each other.
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