One of those magical dog trainer words.
It’s more than just eye contact, it’s a dog who is an active participant in the training. Engaged dogs are tough to come by these days. A lot of the dogs that come to us are getting paid for not participating in training or even acknowledging the human at the end of the leash.
Owners give endless treats, affection, and freedom without asking for anything in return.Or they’ll shout commands at a dog who clearly is not paying attention.Instead, what we can do is reward our dogs for engagement with us.
This will teach them that when you check in with me, you get paid. It’s only after we get the dog’s attention can we give commands. And please, stop shoving food in the face of a dog who is not paying attention to you to try and redirect their attention.
I like engagement training to be operant- meaning the dog is the operator and based on the behavior they offer me THEN that behavior elicits a reward.
Pay attention to me = get paid