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Engagement Skills with Forrest Micke

Engagement Skills with Forrest Micke

What is Engagement? Why is it the first behavior we should teach every new dog, be it an 8 week old puppy or an 8 year old rescue dog?

These are questions new dog owners need to understand.

In its simplest form, engagement means your dog is totally focused on you, it wants to be with you, and it wants what you have. What you have is either his high value food reward or his high value toy.

The picture of a dog that is engaged is a happy dog that is focused on his trainer and is inviting his owner to play. Dogs that are fully engaged ignore outside distractions, they ignore other people, places and things. A fully engaged dog will ignore other dogs or distractions in the environment his owner chooses to place him in.

If you are a trainer who wants to develop a relationship with your dog, where the dog looks forward to your training sessions, then you need to become a student of engagement. In this DVD, Forrest Micke will teach anyone how to get engagement with their dog. You will learn how to keep your dog engaged during training sessions and how to put engagement on cue.

Learning to put engagement on cue should be the foundation to every dog training program. That’s why we here at Leerburg will spend a long long time working on engagement exercises in different places under varying levels of distraction before we move on to more advanced behaviors.

For those folks who are still not sure what I am talking about, go to almost any local dog training school or class and look at the dogs as they take the class. The last place on earth these dogs want to be is where they are. The dogs in these courses are not engaged with their owners.

From watching the short video about this DVD, you can see that the dogs want to interact with Forrest. It’s not rocket science to understand that a dog that is in this frame of mind, engaged, enjoys what it is doing and is easier to train.

Then think how much fun it would be to be able to put this behavior on cue.

Leerburg Online University Student Comment

Leerburg's Online Basic Dog Obedience Course

Hi Ed, I've almost come to the end of my course and I can't praise you enough. Apart from the information been spot on, but the way you broke down steps into tiny pieces and put them all together again was outstanding. I have learned so much from you. I think you are excellent and after spending time everyday with you I feel like I know you. I could go on and on.

I have recommended the course to a number of my friends that want to learn.

Thank you so much for your excellence and time you put into the course making it what it is.

Read more student comments on Leerburg Online University

Leerburg Q&A
Ask your training question

Question: Our brother-in-law does Schutzhund with his German Shepherd and when we visit he asks us to ignore the dog and not pet it. We are dog lovers and it feels wrong for me to treat the dog as though I donít want to pet it. What is your opinion on how we should treat this dog?

Our brother-in-law does Schutzhund training with his 2 year old GSD. The dog lives in the home with the family which has 6 and 8 year old children. The dog and the other family dog live in the house, sleep with the mother and father and plays normally with the children and the other dog. When we visit we are asked not to pet the GSD. The dog wants to be pet by us and repeatedly comes for attention only to be growled at by the owner because when she is pet by us she pees. His opinion is that we should completely ignore the dog. The only problem is that we are dog lovers and the children are all over us as we are their aunt and uncle. It feels wrong for me to treat the dog as though I don't want to pet it and then expect the dog to allow the young children to be all over us. What is your opinion of how we the visitors should treat the female GSD?

Cindy's Response:

If your brother-in-law asks you not to pet his dog then you should not pet the dog. It’s his dog and it’s not necessary for dogs to be petted by people coming in the house. If she has an issue with submissive urinating that alone is good reason for you to respect his rules and ignore the dog.

I don’t allow visitors to my home to pet my dogs either but if I have visitors that won’t respect my wishes with my dog, then I put my dogs away.

Cindy Rhodes

For more questions on this topic, see our Q&A on Socializing.

Have a question for Ed & Cindy? Try the Leerburg Q&A Search. If you can't find the answer to your question by using our search engine, you can email Cindy here at Leerburg at If you have your spam filter on, make sure you set it to receive our replies!!!

Customer Comments

On Leerburg's Engagement Skills with Forrest Micke


Love this newest video. Forrest is so easy to understand. Definitely for the newbie or seasoned trainer. Lots to learn, re-learn or sharpen up on.

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