After last week’s post, the Chief Editor asked me if I had ever blogged about what engagement is. She stated that I had brought it up in last week’s post but did not explain it. After a brief look back at some older posts I was not able to find a blog post about engagement. So this week, I will make a small attempt to explain this thing called engagement.
I thought it would be interesting to ask a few K-9 handlers I know what they would define engagement as. Outside of one indicating that engagement is a mistake. I explained that he was most likely thinking of the non K-9 definition. But most of the handlers stated that if a dog was engaged they were paying attention and being active in their training. Many training books will read something to the effect of the dog is actively participating in the training.
Engagement is natural for dogs. It’s a lot like playing. Does the dog want to continue playing tug after it wins the toy from the handler? That would be engagement at a basic level. An interaction between K-9 and handler. Without engagement the dog may become less interested in the training and will begin to think that the environment around it is more interesting.