One part of my unique P•E•T system is Engage or engagement to give it the full title. I actually believe that engagement between a dog and you is one of the most important things to teach and build on with your dog.
So what is engagement? Engagement is about your dog being aware of you. An engaged dog will always respond when we talk to them or play with them.
An engaged dog won’t be getting distracted by what else is going on because they will be having too much fun with you, or us if we walk them!
A dog who is engaged knows that rewards come from their walker or you and because of this they want to work with you.
How do you get a dog to engage with you though? Well it’s all about payment. That’s right, just like you expect to go to work and get paid, so does your dog. Ok, they aren’t really working but do try and think of your dog having an emotional bank account.
If your dog has done something great and they have been “paid” for it then you have just made a deposit in to their bank account. But imagine if they have done something brilliant and it was ignored. Yep, you guessed it, you have just made a withdrawal from their emotional bank account.
In the dog world, payment is a food reward, playing with toys, an audible reward or a big fuss. Rewarding is not bribing, it promotes a great relationship and behaviour.
A dog that has a healthy emotional bank account is a happy dog looking for more ways to increase their balance.
Still confused? Imagine your boss has asked you to stay late to get a report done. You may not be happy about that. If it was me, I would probably mumble something unspeakable under my breath and curse them for everything wrong in the world.
But if that boss asked me to stay late with the promise of a pizza break later on, well I’m a happy girl. I may well think that my boss is great and I’m wondering what I need to do to get cake. Let’s start paying our dogs!
Love, Sally xx
Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!
After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.
Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. You can also find Sally chatting as a guest on dog related podcasts.