1. Pay Attention / Find It


Exercise 1.3 Sit & Watch Me

Not only does ‘Sit & Watch Me’ improve your dog’s attention, it’s also a fundamental behaviour useful in many day-to-day situations and it’s very straightforward to train.

 

Sitting and watching can replace jumping on people, begging at the table, pulling on the lead to get to things and barking at people and other dogs to name just a few.

 

Our goal is for the dog to sit still, make and maintain eye contact with us.  It’s also a pre-requisite skill for beginning Stay training.

 

Training ‘Sit & Watch Me’:

In an area free from distractions and with a hungry dog:

  1. Ask your dog to sit and say yes and reward when he does.
  2. Draw a treat from your dog's nose smoothly up to your eyes and count out loud “One”.
  3. As long as he’s stayed seated and looking at you reward with a treat.
  4. If he fidgets or pops up / tries to jump up for the treat, pointedly cancel and start again.  Your pup needs to both watch and remain sitting to get his reward.
  5. Proceed by incrementing the count by one each time until you can go from 1, 1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4-5, 1-2-3-4-5-6 by which time your dog will have been sitting and watching for 25 – 30 seconds.
  6. Counting out loud really helps keep your pups attention and it also helps you to slowly extend the duration of the behaviour by just a little each time.

If he gets up at any time it’s really important that you start again from 1, 1-2, 1-2-3 etc.

 

Repeat this process in every room in your house and then go practice in the garden and try out on a walk too as long as it’s quiet and there are no other dogs around which would make it too hard for the current level of training.  When practicing outside you may find some extra juicy treats will help get things started!

 

Try to fit in two or three short sessions a day.