My goal this week is to foster engagement in new situations. I want Milo to actively pay attention to me and want to work, even when we’re in novel or distracting places.
I’ll be following Micheal Ellis’ advice in his video “The Power of Playing Tug with your Dog.” The plan is to take Milo to a new environment, wait for him to look at me, and reward him with a spectacular game of tug when he does. We’ll do this twice a day.
I’m focusing on engagement, right now in particular, for three reasons:
- We’ll be leaving on our gigantic road trip soon and every place we’ll be for the next couple of months will be a new place. Working on engagement in new situations helps Milo associate this novelty with good things. Hopefully, this will help the trip be less stressful for him.
- Every obedience and rally trail will be in a new place. While I’ll always start by letting him sniff around, he has to learn that even in distracting places the best thing to do is to engage with me.
- I’ve been a bit frustrated with our training for the last few days, and the trouble is lack of engagement. A dog needs to pay attention to you in order to learn from you. Also, I need to remind myself that this is fun for me too! This kind of engagement work is just skillfully, thoughtfully, and wholeheartedly playing with Milo, and there aren’t many things better than that.
I’m looking forward to a fun week!