Fun Puppy Training Games

"Watch Me" -- Game Instructions:

This fun and simple game: “Watch Me” can teach your puppy to pay close attention to you. This can be very beneficial in helping all your training efforts along. You can play this game anywhere. Rather than feeding your puppy dinner from a bowl, you weigh out and use the allotment of your puppy’s dinner kibble for this training time and other exercises you intend to do. Soon you will have regained your puppy’s attention and can again feed the little tyke dinner as usual. Attentive puppies become desirous of your praise.

Now here is what you do: You are going to ignore everything your little pooch does until he or she just glances up at you for an instant. Be prepared to have this take anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. It doesn’t really matter how long you have to wait or even how short your puppy’s first glance at you is. It just needs to happen. For the first couple of trial glances you may have to wait for a few minutes, but soon you will find that your puppy has started to realize that something special is happening and will look at you more frequently and within seconds.

How you make this happen is as soon as your puppy glances at you, say, “Good Boy”, “Good Girl”, or “Good Watch Me”, give them a piece of kibble as their reward, and then take a step away from your puppy to break their gaze. Now wait for your puppy to glance at you again. As soon as they do, repeat the process over again: “Good Girl”, reward with a kibble, and take a step away.

After a few of these reinforced glances in the “Watch Me” game, increase the time of attention required for a reward — first one second of attention, then two seconds, then three seconds and so on. It is easy to count out the time of attention required in canine seconds: “Good boy one, Good boy two, Good boy three, Good boy four, and so forth”. Once you have increased the time of attention your puppy is paying to you for 20 or 30 seconds, you will notice that your baby is in a sit-stay for that long. This is a good thing.

Another approach to teaching your puppy to look at you is to start out by taking a treat, putting it up to your puppy's nose, bringing it up to your nose, give the hang signal "watch me," or "okay" and then give the treat to your puppy. The idea here is for your puppy to look you in the eye. Practice this several times daily for a few days.

Now that you and your puppy are having a successful time playing a fun game with lots of puppy eye contact, praising and rewarding your puppy for making this eye contact with you; you are now going to throw into the game a difficulty factor.

As you take your step away from your puppy, you are going to intentionally break your puppy’s gaze by turning around and showing your back side to your puppy. Now that your puppy will not be able to see your face, he or she will have to figure out what they are going to do to keep playing the “Watch Me” game with you. Be sure to allow your puppy plenty of time to figure this out. Your little one has to deduce that staring at your backside is not sufficient to find your face and eyes. It shouldn’t take very long before your little one will come around in front of you and find your face and eyes. When this happens -- praise your puppy as soon as he or she looks up at you, and give them your reward.

Once your puppy has the hang of this new game, it’s time to teach your little one to play it on verbal cue and hand signal.

The verbal is: “Watch me”, turn away from your puppy and give praise as soon as he or she makes eye contact with you. Soon you can ask your puppy to watch you while they are heeling, or during a sit-stay, a down-stay, and stand-stays.

The hand signal for “Watch Me” is usually a simple single index finger or double fingers pointing at your puppy’s nose. When your puppy sees you point at his or her nose, they immediately look up and make eye contact with you.

Repeating this “Watch Me” game with your puppy daily will develop success in many other areas in your puppy’s training.

The "Watch Me" game is designed to teach your puppy to watch you regularly as a habit and to obey your hand sign "Watch Me", in addition to all your commands and hand signals.

It is important to randomly reward eye contact from your puppy whenever you notice it. Just smile, give the hand sign "okay" or "good dog" and pull out a treat. Your puppy will watch you more often and that's the goal.

To learn all the basic training that your dog will ever need:
"Take our Free Puppy Training Course"