We live in the real world full of distraction and unpredictability. We cannot control what may come around the corner when we are with our dogs. Owners of dogs that are easily distracted (e.g. very interested in chasing squirrels or very reactive to other dogs...etc) often end up confining their dogs in the backyard or they can only walk their dogs in the middle of the night when there is no one around.
Some dogs are so "overly friendly" that they would drag their owners to say hi to every human and dog. This can be a big problem especially if the dog is large and powerful. A lot of owners end up sending their dogs to doggy daycare or off leash dog walkers every single day to try drain their energy. The dog is so hyper the owner cannot walk the dog on leash and cannot even take the dog out to a local coffee shop to have a cup of coffee peacefully. The dog is missing out great opportunities to experience the world with his owner as a result of this.
Many dogs are more interested in other people, dog, cats, critters...than their owners. A dog that does not pay attention to his owner can get himself killed or get into all sorts of troubles (dog fight, bitten by a snake, hurt by cars...etc). Besides, how can you expect your dog to obey your command when he does not even pay attention to you? It is therefore very important that dog owners understand the concept of engagement.
Engagement is about being the focal point of your dog at all time.
Engagement is about not feeling overly excited when seeing other dogs or strangers but wanting to play and work with you regardless; engagement is about not saying hi to every dog on the walk but staying by your side calmly no matter what; engagement is about not getting all worked up and worry about what is happening around you but staying tuned in and looking up to you for direction trustfully.
Engagement is about being your dog's rock in a storm of threats; it is about being your dog's lighthouse in an ocean of chaos; it is about being your dog's compass in a world of conflict and confusion.
Teach your dog to look to you for direction, build a strong relationship with your dog, be the leader whom your dog looks up to for guidance and be the one your dog wants to be with more than anything else.
Engagement is an attitude and a lifestyle. Once you understand it and start to implement it in how you share your life with your dogs you will see a drastic improvement in your relationship.