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Powerfulmind 02-03-2014 08:52 PM

How do I teach my dog..(the 'watch' command?)
To pay attention to me? We've been working on "look" for weeks and she does fine with me. With cats. With the other dogs, but if my husband does it.. nope. And she's "his" dog! I don't understand! She also can't look outside of the house. How do you transfer the command from inside to out like.. at petsmart? She doesn't pay attention.. at all. Nothing gets her attention.

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Cassidy's Mom 02-03-2014 09:06 PM

How have you been working on it so far? Has your husband been actively training it too, or just using the command that you've trained? How old is your dog and how long have you had her?

Even if she's practically perfect in low distraction environments, it's much more challenging to get a dog's attention in a high distraction environment like Petsmart. Rather that tell her to "look" when she's probably not going to do it, I'd rather just stand there and simply wait for her to look at you, then mark ("Yes!") and reward it. You could start in the parking lot right outside the car, and when she's consistently looking at you for a reward, take a few steps closer to the store and work on it some more. Gradually work up to actually being in the store. And again, wait for her to offer it, don't ask for it. Giving your dog commands and having her blow you off because there's too much interesting stuff going on is only teaching her that she does not always need to comply.

The more you reinforce attention, the more attention you'll get, even if you don't actually give her the "look" command. This is called a default behavior, and it's something I work on a lot from a young age. For my dogs, a sit and "watch" (my attention command), is a default behavior, so if I'm with them and I'm just standing there doing nothing, they automatically sit and look at me. This has been heavily reinforced over a long period of time, so they know it can work to get them stuff they value - it's required before I open the door to let them out for potties, before I put their food bowls on the floor, before I throw a ball, etc.

MaggieRoseLee 02-04-2014 10:23 AM

WHat treats you using? How fast are you rewarding? How old/big is the puppy cause alot of time it helps to be at their level (on the floor?) when starting this.

Do NOT do too much too fast or have too high expectations. And remember it's normal for backslidiing in training to occur the first year or so with normal puppy maturity.

Is she beeter in dog classes? Is the instructor able to help?

MichaelE 02-04-2014 10:45 AM

I would start with the dogs name followed by the command. Use a clicker and treats if necessary at first.

Stevenzachsmom 02-04-2014 10:58 AM

You asked about teaching the watch command, but then said you are working on the look command. To me, they are two totally different things. When I want my dog to watch, I want him to watch me. When I want him to look, I want him to look at something in the near or far distance - not at me.

I teach him to focus on me, by hand feeding him. I put a piece of kibble on the floor and hold up a finger for him to wait. He looks at the kibble. I put my hand near my eyes and tell him to watch. He looks directly at me. Then, I tell him to touch (nose to hand) and release him to have the kibble.

For look, I point and tell him to look. It can be inside, out the window, or on the next block and he will look. It also helps to tell him to look at something specific - bird, cat, etc.

As for obeying commands at home and not in other places, that is very common. Work on getting the command rock solid at home and then work on it in public places with distractions.

SuperG 02-04-2014 11:10 AM

I used "eyes" as my verbalization of the command to look at me. I'd physically point at my eyes in the beginning and I most always took advantage of meal time to start this procedure. Moving the lure towards my eyes with the verbal command also helped. If she looked me in the eyes she got her food. Eventually, I would lower the bowl a bit from eye level and of course the dog was fixated on the bowl but I would ask for "eyes" and the moment she broke her stare at the food bowl and looked me in the eyes....voila'..she got her food. Little by little the process continued until the food bowl is on the floor and she is on a sit/wait and I ask for "eyes" and she completely looks me in the eyes and boom..."okay" dinnertime. Ultimately, I can say "eyes" and she looks right at treat or food bowl required.

On walks, I'd make "odd" sounds at times and most always the dog would look up at me to investigate the source....."eyes".."good girl". Anytime the pup made eye contact it was always reinforced..."eyes".."good girl" treat/loving whatever...

I have read many an article describing the ups and downs of eye contact with a dog but it seems the only downs might occur when a human is meeting a strange dog for the first time....and eye contact might not be the best idea until one has the dog figured out a bit. By watching other dogs interact and specifically watching eye contact amongst other dogs, it is rather interesting and has made wonder if eye contact with humans is somewhat problematic for some dogs at first. I believe dog on dog...a dog which looks away from another dog's eyes is somewhat submissive and a gesture which avoids confrontation...perhaps this bleeds over to human/dog eye contact in more submissive dogs....???


ayoitzrimz 02-04-2014 11:36 AM

Try the Balabanov method (called that because that's where we learned it, not because it was invented by Ivan). Worked for us. The biggest thing is timing really and building up the length.

Cassidy's Mom 02-04-2014 05:17 PM


Originally Posted by Stevenzachsmom (Post 4962858)
You asked about teaching the watch command, but then said you are working on the look command. To me, they are two totally different things. When I want my dog to watch, I want him to watch me. When I want him to look, I want him to look at something in the near or far distance - not at me.

Some people use "look", as in "look at me", instead of "watch", or "watch me". I assume that's what she's referring to. I don't think it matters what word she uses as long as she's consistent about what she expects when she says it.

MichaelE 02-04-2014 05:38 PM

True. When I want Lisl to watch, I say "who is that?" The term doesn't matter to the dog.

Not that I have to say that to Lisl very often. Everything is under her microscope when out and about. Though when I want her to watch someone particular, I tell her.

David Taggart 02-04-2014 05:49 PM

What happens straight after you gave your command? If nothing happens - don't wait anything from her. Showing your tongue, moving your head side to side or pulling faces doesn't always work. "Look!" - and start running. "Look" should be associated with the movement first. "Look" and throw the ball. "Look" and start chasing pigeons yourself. The next time "Look" and don't move anuwhere, your dog will look into your eyes, her immediate response will be "What is there? Where to run?" Draw the ball out of your pocket and thow it for her, point your indicating finger in the direction of some birds, point your indicating finger to the window if you see a dog there.

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