Look At Me! is a very useful tool to teach your puppy. It will be practically impossible to train your puppy if he isn’t paying attention to you! This is an easy thing to teach even the youngest puppy, and it helps you connect with the dog and for him to focus on you!
This is really easy to teach. Once again, consistency is the key. Train is small spurts. 5-10 minutes is probably max for a little puppy! They lose interest in it and you’ll both get frustrated. It is also important to find a small easy to eat treat that your puppy likes. The ones that Henry likes the best are these:
I also use his kibble for training. If I am training in the morning, I’ll save out a tiny bit of his breakfast and use that, or some of his lunch. That way he isn’t getting a bunch of treats, and eating extra calories.
Decide if you want to use a clicker, or a reward word. I use both. To be honest, sometimes I can’t find the clicker, so I also use reward words. I use ‘Yes’ and ‘Goodboy’. The important part is to click or use your reward immediately after the puppy does whatever it is your asking of him.
How to teach Look At Me
Try to get your dog to sit or lay down in front of you. I like to get down on the ground close to him at first when teaching this. Anyway, so you have your puppy sitting right in front of you. Every time that he looks up at you and makes eye contact, click or use a reward word immediately, then give him a treat. He will get the hint very quickly that you like it when he looks at your face!
If he doesn’t look at you, and just stares off in another direction or stares at the hand with the treats in it, try this: Put one treat in your hand, between your thumb and forefinger, so the dog can see it. While he is looking at the treat in your hand, raise the treat up to your forehead, between your eyes, just above your nose and say ‘Look at Me’ as he is looking at you. Once you have gotten 5-7 eye contacts and you have treated them, wait a second for him not to be looking at you, say ‘Look at Me’ and then wait for him to look at you. Once he does, click or reward word, and then a treat. Think he has it down? Stand up and try ‘Look at Me’ – he should look right at your face!
Dont say ‘Look at Me’ over and over. Just say it once and wait. Don’t reward until you get eye contact. And reward immediately after you get eye contact. My puppy learned this in about 5 minutes and is now very good at it. When he starts acting like a wildman and wont focus on me, I just grab a treat and say “Look at me”. His default behavior is to sit and look at me. It works! I use it a lot to distract him, or to get him to focus. With or without treats, he knows it and will respond.
Dont get frustrated if your dog doesn’t look at you, or your dog doesn’t want the treats. My friend’s dog was really uninterested in the whole Look at Me thing. She had to do the training when no one was home, tv was off, and she had the puppy on her bed. The puppy was just getting overwhelmed. But under the perfect conditions she was able to do the training and her dog did get it. Sometimes dogs wont take the treats (I have labs, so that NEVER happens!), and supposedly thats because they are stressed over the training. If your dog is not into it, just try again later.