Fish & Chips
I want to use a very simply example to talk about something that is often missed in dog-human relationship, which is respect.
Respect and engagement go hand in hand--you cannot look up to someone you do not respect, and you cannot respect someone you never pay much attention to.
In this videos, 8-year-old Canissa was eating her favorite Fish n Chips in public with 1-year-old Spot in a down/stay by her side.
Although Canissa was a tiny child sitting all by herself in front of a very low table full of food, and Spot was not being restrained in any way, Spot--being a puppy who loved food--knew that she should respect Canissa's space and privacy so she never once bothered Canissa. Spot simply stayed by Canissa's side respectfully and left her alone.
As you can see, Canissa was very relaxed. She did not worry about Spot stealing her food, she did not yell "leave it" or "no" to Spot, she did not have to constantly watch over Spot. She could turn around and smiled at me because she knew without a shadow of doubt that Spot would not touch her food.
When a dog understands how to be respectful, many behavioral problems will disappear without the owner having to yell or yank at the dog.
Canissa offered Spot some affection at the end when she was done eating. She was in control of when she wanted to pay attention to Spot and when she needed Spot to leave her alone. Because Canissa did not give Spot a release command to get up, Spot remained in a down/stay.
When a dog has developed a respectful attitude, engagement training will become much easier.
A dog that engages in you respectfully is a well behaved and obedient dog.
That is why teaching your dog to have a respectful attitude is so important.