Course description

Engagement & Focus Foundation

A practical course that will help you build your bond with your dog and get them to want to listen to you. Engagement is a key component in getting dogs to reliably do what you say in the presence of distractions.

This is for you if:

  • You have a new dog and you’d like to start off on the right foot with them.
  • You’ve taught your dog basic obedience commands but they act like you don’t exist as soon as you leave the house together.

After you complete this course, you’ll have a solid foundation to build on with any other training you’d like to do, like agility, obedience, recalls, loose leash walking, or tackling complex behavior issues like cat-chasing. 

This course is included with an All-Access Pass membership.


You'll learn how to:

Get your dog to pay attention despite distractions

Put environmental distractions to work FOR you

Use reinforcers other than food or toys

Build a true partnership with your dog

Watch the trailer

Get a sneak peek inside the course and a demo of our training methods:

Does this sound familiar?

You’re doing everything you’re supposed to do with your dog: exercise, mental stimulation, obedience training.

You taught them the basics like sit, stay, come, watch me, even a couple tricks. And they listen just fine at home or at obedience class.

But in real life, it’s like you don’t exist.

It all feels hollow. Like your connection is surface level. Like if you stopped using treats or dropped the leash, Sparky would take off and not look back.

You want your dog to trust, love, and listen to you, but you can’t shake the feeling that they don’t even like spending time with you.

I remember going through that in the early years with my first dog, Friday.

If you’re anything like I was, you put a lot of work into practicing obedience skills, and diligently trying to get them to follow those cues in distracting places like the park or on a walk.

But the harder you work, the more frustrated you feel.

I could do endless repetitions of Sit and Watch Me, but I couldn’t figure out how to get Friday to, ya know, be my friend.

As soon as the treats were gone or the choke chain came off, she was all “peace out bro ✌” and back to sniffing or bird watching or whatever else she deemed a better use of her time than hanging out with me.

Rude. Where was the Man’s Best Friend I was promised?

This can happen because:

You prioritize obedience (or “manners”) over engagement and relationship-building, which are the things that teach your dog that you are trustworthy and fun to be around.

Basically, your house (obedience) is missing its foundation (engagement).

And that’s not your fault: for decades, obedience training has been Just The Way We Do Things. Get a puppy, go to the pet shop for supplies, sign up for their basic manners class while you’re there.

Basic manners are great, but if the foundation is missing, it’s harder to develop the bond or reliable responses to cues you’ve been dreaming about.

So if this describes you, take heart: it’s not too late and there is a better way of doing things.

If you want your dog to be able to follow commands and engage with you despite distractions...

There are some things you have to teach them and some skills you both need first.

They need to learn:

  • “My human is part of the fun!”
  • “Doing what my human wants gets me all kinds of good things”

They also need to:

  • Be desensitized to distractions and learn about the world in a way that makes them capable of listening in challenging situations.

And they need to be proficient at these skills:

  • Moving away from a Good Thing in order to access that Good Thing
  • Returning to the handler before accessing a Good Thing
  • Following “boring” cues (sit, heel, etc) in order to get the opportunity to do something they want

And YOU need to:

  • Be able to recognize the opportunities in your dog’s unwanted behavior
  • Find and utilize “weird” types of reinforcers.
  • Know how to tweak the difficulty level of a training session so that you and Sparky can actually make progress instead of spinning your wheels
  • Know how to work with your dog, and not against them

This course will show you how to do all that.

Ready to get started?

Get Engagement when you sign up for a monthly or annual All-Access Pass

No commitment, easily cancel at any time. Click here to learn more about the All-Access Pass.


$ 24 Per month
  • Includes:
  • All of our courses
  • Twice-monthly live Q&A Zoom sessions with Jake and Erin
  • The Rescue Dog Roadmap
  • Forums
  • Achievement badges
  • New content added monthly


Like getting five months free!
$ 147 Per year
  • Includes:
  • All of our courses
  • Twice-monthly live Q&A Zoom sessions with Jake and Erin
  • The Rescue Dog Roadmap
  • Forums
  • Achievement badges
  • New content added monthly
best value

The 60 Day Money Back Guarantee

We offer full refunds on All-Access Pass monthly and annual memberships. If you decide the Academy isn’t for you, send us an email within two months of purchase and we’ll refund 100% of your payment, no questions asked.