This topic comes up all the time, either folks asking how to get their dog/puppy to focus, or folks advising owners to work on engagement. If you google engagement, there are a lot of examples of lovely sport-bred dogs laser focused on their job - well, once you realize to add "dog training" after engagement, otherwise you get a bunch of corny proposal videos. What's missing (in my searches at least) are examples of not your typical obedience breeds practicing engagement in a pet-dog scenario, and examples of what engagement is not. So here is Penny being engaged and not being engaged. Background: Penny is probably around a year old, side-of-the-road special, who had minimal to no human contact that I could tell before we caught her and brought her home. She has been with us for 3 and a half months now. This first video is engagement. Apologies the audio sucks. Basically I'm saying this is an example of engagement. I have cheese, and she's interested in the cheese but she will work for anything I have. If I grab a leaf she wants it, when I throw the leaf in to the water, she chases it and comes right back to me and everything about her attitude is an excited "what's next?" The key here is every time she gets rewarded, she wants more - give me something else to do. I want to work with you. She's not bombing off to go entertain herself after I give her a piece of cheese, she's right there with me - engaged. This part is important: When I'm done, I cue her that we're done. "Okay" and even though I have to say it twice, notice that as soon as she understands we're done, here whole demeanor changes. She goes to do her own thing. Which is fine BTW, I don't expect her to be fully engaged on an entire walk. (See next video.) This is an example of not engaged. She isn't blanking me entirely, but she's not in what I would call "work mode." There's a lovely example of the environment trumping her coming back to me. Notice I do NOT call her again, I don't want to encourage her ignoring me. But when she does come I do reward her. For those of you following her progress, this is why I don't have a formal recall cue yet, she's not quite ready. A typical outing will have both engagement and not engagement. That's the goal. Along the way there will be moments of complete disengagement, and you work towards that happening less and less. Engagement is always the dog's choice. There is no coercion tactic that creates true engagement. You can get a dog to pay attention to you out of concern because you're unpredictable and they feel the need to be ready to appease you, but that's not real engagement where the dog is enthusiastic and saying "I want to work with you, tell me what to do next." You can only build that through conditioning value to your rewards and interaction with you.