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I have a 13 month old dog who has some issues (well not really issues, more like inconveniences) that I feel could be improved by engagement. I think I need to redo the foundations from the bottom. Currently he is your typical teenage pet dog-interested in anything but me and will not for the love of Dog focus unless I have something very tasty or very interesting. I don’t think he will ever be at the sports dog level of engagement but I do want to improve it as far as it goes.
Links? Articles, videos, books, whatever. Looking for a starting point for further research.
 

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Well, a great place to start would be Denise Fenzi's blog; she is a big proponent for the dog choosing when to work, in a sports context. She teaches an entire class on the topic of engagement through her online school, Fenzi Dog Sports Academy.

Otherwise, patience - its a slow process! Keep working on it, keep rewarding your dog for choosing to interact with you (rather than bribing him when he's ignoring you). Maturity will help a lot as well!
 

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Agree with Gingerkid. The point is to make the choice of looking at you or focusing on you rewarding. If the ONLY time he engages is when you have food, then you need to start to build duration and use a bridge word. I use "good." Friend of mine uses "yup!" and then she also uses "Nope" to let the dog know that is NOT leading to a reward.

In your living room (or other non distracting area) the dog looks at you, you click (or say a marker word) and feed (wait a couple of seconds to feed.. as that allows the dog to process the correct response that led to the food reward). Now you get the dog offering to look and you wait a bit longer to click and reward. Eventually you get enough duration to say "Good" or "Yup" and then mark with the clicker or marker word and reward.

"Good" (or yup) gives the dog information and lets them know they are doing it right and then "yes" or click lets them know the exercise is finished and they get the reward.

You can also build engagement through impulse control such as sitting and waiting at the door. Going through the door is what the dog wants. You want them to sit and look at you. They look at you, you can say "yes" or click and then open the door. This can build understanding in the dog that he gets what he wants when you get what you want.
 
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