Have you ever seen top obedience competition dogs on television, and wonder how they get such amazing attention from their dogs? Here’s how to do it: First, figure out what motivates your dog. Usually it’s either food or a toy. Next, put your dog in the sit stay position. He should know how to sit and stay until you give him the release command.
If your dog doesn’t already know how to do this, take a look at my dog training book and videos at: http://www/dogproblems.com/newvideos.htm Use the phrase, “Watch me,” and bring the food (or toy) down from your chin area, to the dog’s mouth. Then give your dog the release command and play with him for a bit. Then repeat. After seven sessions of repetition, place the reward on a table.
Give the, “Watch me,” command. If the dog doesn’t give you full eye contact, then tap your chest or gently tug on the dog’s ear until he looks up at you. When he does, praise him and give him the release command. THEN let him have his reward. (The ball or the food). See what we’ve done? We’ve gone from using the ball/food as a lure to using it as a reward.
In other words, we’re not bribing the dog to do the exercise at this point, but we’re making him do it, and then using the ball or food as a reward. After your dog starts to understand the exercise, you can start introducing gentle leash corrections while proofing for distractions. Remember: Only reward the dog when he’s giving you full eye contact. Once your dog fully understands the “Watch me” command, you can start combining it with the “heel” exercise. Here’s the professional dog trainer’s tip: Always keep your sessions short and fun. Every professional dog trainer knows that it’s more effective to use five short (five minute) training sessions in one day, than to try to use a one hour session.