Build Engagement While Teaching Problem Solving Skills

Use this simple exercise to build your dog's engagement and focus.

Wait for your dog to check in...and celebrate them when they do!

  • Begin in a low distraction and familiar environment with your dog on lead (use a leash that is between 6ft and 15ft in length)
  • Be a tree! Do...NOTHING! Don't talk to your dog, don't prompt or cue them, and don't move
  • Let your dog do whatever they choose - they can sniff, or explore, or roll in the grass - it's up to them!
  • The moment your dog gets bored with the limited environment they have access to, and turns to look your way, come to life and throw a party!
  • Praise them well and reward with two or three pieces of food (if you use markers, you can mark the moment they check in before rewarding - if not, no sweat - just reward them!), one, after the other, after the other, after the other
  • After the last treat, walk away a few steps and freeze again - don't pay them any attention and stop moving
  • As soon as they check in, repeat, rewarding their check in repetitively
  • Practice 3-5 repetitions per session daily


Want to learn more about building engagement?

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel. And check out this video, where we'll teach you a super simple engagement game you can start playing right away. It's time to finally become the center of your dog's universe.