Pawsitive Vybe S2E1 – Got Attention?

If you have trouble getting your dog’s attentionUnsolicited eye contact or Attention is a great way to hook up with a dog. If you have something the dog wants he should give eye contact in order to get access to it. This quickly becomes akin to asking permission for things that the dog wants. If your dog offers Attention when they see something they want, most dog... , you are already behind the 8-ball when it comes to dog training.

What if I told you it was possible to have your dog stop and look into your eyes any time they see something they like or want? How about if I show you? Click on the video you’ll see…


Pawsitive Vybe is a weekly 1/2 hour dog training & lifestyle webseries on YouTube that is seeking wider distribution and production support. It is self produced by Ron Watson & Pawsitive Vybe.


attention is unsolicited or offered eye contactUnsolicited eye contact or Attention is a great way to hook up with a dog. If you have something the dog wants he should give eye contact in order to get access to it. This quickly becomes akin to asking permission for things that the dog wants. If your dog offers Attention when they see something they want, most dog... . all cooperative behaviors between dog and handler start with Attention.


Surf by Segment:

0:43 – Attention for Toys with Hops
2:22 – Fridge Retrieve with Parkour
3:16 – Show Introduction & Backer Shoutout
5:55ShapingShaping is a learning technique where successive approximation and a Positive Marker are used to teach behaviors and communicate concepts. Successive approximation essentially means continually closer to the target behavior. So Shaping is a learning technique where you continually get closer and closer to the target behavior using a Positive Marker to tell the dog when she is right. It... & Capturing Attention with Flo
9:51 – Flowing Mo Moves with Hops
10:56 – 3 Flavors of Attention
13:26Go Do Dog StuffIf a dog is dismissed, it means the handler is "off limits". Dismissal does not mean the dog has to leave, just that the handler is not available. Dismissal is a valuable drive management tool. Used to great effect on both high drive and low drive dogs, Dismissal turns environmental management into a freeshaping opportunity....DismissalIf a dog is dismissed, it means the handler is "off limits". Dismissal does not mean the dog has to leave, just that the handler is not available. Dismissal is a valuable drive management tool. Used to great effect on both high drive and low drive dogs, Dismissal turns environmental management into a freeshaping opportunity....
14:44DismissIf a dog is dismissed, it means the handler is "off limits". Dismissal does not mean the dog has to leave, just that the handler is not available. Dismissal is a valuable drive management tool. Used to great effect on both high drive and low drive dogs, Dismissal turns environmental management into a freeshaping opportunity.... to Warmup with Kiva
16:28 – NH Disc Dog Camp Vignette
18:01 – 1 Footed Foot StallA Stall has the dog leaping up and chilling out on the handler’s back. Stalls are great for showmanship and for presenting a dog to the crowd. They create a dramatic or emotive pause amidst the craziness of a disc dog freestyle routine.... with Hops
20:07 – Notecards with Kiva
22:35 – 1 Footed Footstall Reloaded
24:31 – Notecards & Big Air with Kiva
26:00 VaultThe dog uses the player´s body as a launching pad to jump for a disc. A Vault is a leaping catch from the handler’s body. The dog leaves the ground for the target and uses the handler’s body to get there. There are many different styles and variations of vaults, but they are commonly described by the part of the... Quickie
26:28 – Performance is Not Understanding
28:59 – Refocusing with Attention with Lexi

Responsibility & Opportunity

In the pet world Attention is usually asked for by the handler by calling the dog’s name, at which point the handler then asks the dogThe Dog is a player archetype defined by The Dog. There are always a few canine athletes that really separate themselves from the pack. Many great disc dog teams have relied a great deal on The Dog, and many people build an entire style around that unique, once in a lifetime athlete. Any player archetype who executes should, in theory,... to perform another behavior. It’s not hard to see that this Attention behavior is likely to become quite weak, as asking for work, especially work that is challenging, is not a very powerful reinforcer.

What winds up happening is that the handler has to cajole (or coerce) the dog into hooking up with her, putting the handler behind that 8-ball before work has even started. This little stumbling block can easily become a major pitfall as the handler has to work harder and harder to get, and hold the dog’s attention.
If we shift the responsibility for hooking up as a team from the handler to the dog. Then it is the dog that has to cajole the handler for the opportunity to work. Your dog will start to work in order to get the opportunity to work with you. How cool is that? 8-ball, corner pocket…

Mechanics, Metaphor & Methodology

The mechanics for teaching Attention are rather simple, and are clearly demonstrated throughout the show.

The handler presents a cookieA Cookie is traditionally thought of as a food treat given as positive reinforcement. In that definition, a cookie is a discrete piece of food reinforcement. In many dog training discussions, the idea of the Cookie is a bit less discrete and encompasses more types of reinforcers than food. The term Cookie is often verbal or metaphorical shorthand for dog... (or a toy) and waits for the dog to offer eye contact. When the eye contact happens, a positive marker is given to isolate that behavior, that moment in time and bridge that behavior with the eating of the cookie. A clicker or a verbal,”Yes!” are traditional positive markers. The dog learns rather quickly that the fast path to the cookie runs throughA Through is a set up move where the dog runs between the handler’s legs. The dog can move from front to back or side to side and can even weave. A Through can be done in both the clockwise and counter clockwise directions.... the handler’s eyes.

It is important for the handler to understand that the cookie presentation is more of a signal than it is a lure or bait. This is kind of a hard concept for some people to grasp. What we are trying to accomplish at this point in time is to get the dog to believe that the path to anything they want starts with looking at the handler, and you can’t deliver that understanding if you refuse to present a cookie or you are looking at the cookie as a trap or distraction.

Eating the cookie is the goal and the way to achieve that goal is to release the cookie and giveThe Give is a retrieve to the hand. A cued Give is a foundational skill that is not super useful in the actual performance of disc dog freestyle, and has huge applications for training and skills development . A Give is distinctly different from a Drop because of the localized nature of the skill. Give only happens in the hand,... eye contact. Essentially the dog will be asking permission to go after what they want.

Generalize, Generalize, Generalize

Once we have the dog offering eye contact at the presentation of the cookie we can switch cookies. Toys, food bowl, access to outdoors, taking the leash off, all of these things are potential cookies.

The more your dog uses the Attention behavior to create positive opportunities, the more every opportunity that presents itself will trigger the need to offer attention:

When all you have is a hammer Attention, every situation looks like a nail Eye Contact.

DismissalGo Do Dog Stuff... Dismissal means that the handler is off limits. It doesn’t mean the dog has to go, or that work is finished, or stop doing that behavior, it just means that the handler is off limits now and the dog has to occupy her own time. This is a powerful concept that can be leveraged to manage... = Go Do Dog StuffGo Do Dog Stuff... Dismissal means that the handler is off limits. It doesn’t mean the dog has to go, or that work is finished, or stop doing that behavior, it just means that the handler is off limits now and the dog has to occupy her own time. This is a powerful concept that can be leveraged to manage... !

Dismissal is kind of the opposite of Attention. It means that the handler is unavailable or off limits, and is an important concept for making the handler an opportunity – that’s right, you can be a cookie too!

Traditional pet training says that the handler must keep the dog’s attention at all times. This means that the handler is a resource that is never restricted and the environment is always limited access. This quickly becomes the grass is always greener, and it becomes harder and harder to hold your dog’s attention when there’s so much potential opportunity that is being missed out on.

Dismissal flips that and makes the handler a limited access resource and gives frequent, unfettered access to the environment. “You think the grass is greener overAn Over is any leaping catch that happens over top of the handler’s body. Overs are usually named by the part of the body over which the dog flies, i.e - Leg Over, or the position you are in while doing the Over - Seated Over, Spinning Over, etc. Overs should be taught before Vaults.... there? Go do dog stuff.” Once the dog realizes that the environment is kind of lame without the interaction with the handler, that shiny object, grass is greener idea that we fight against so often disappears.

Skillful use of Dismissal can create a dog that wants nothing else but to work with the handler. Along with Attention, Dismissal is one of the most powerful concepts in dog training.

One thing about dismissal: You can’t dismiss your dog into a sausage factory. So be sure you are sending the dog out into an environment that you, as a handler can compete with.

Discussion in Comments Below

I’ll do my best to answer any and all questions on the show, Attention and Dismissal in the comments below. Don’t be shy, the only stupid questions are the ones not asked.