The Power of Play, but for real, it is a power. The power to keep your dog engaged and willing to ignore its surroundings to engage with you! Weather you are playing with your dog for treats, toys or affection, make it worth it, because at some point you won't have those objects.
When you were a kid, did you ever have that really boring teacher with a mono tone voice that during his/her class you could barely keep your eyes open or you found yourself doodling or checking out? DON'T be that kind of teacher to your dog. Be the teacher that we all remember engaging with and being excited to go to class with every day of the week, who's classes flew by. When you are training your dog, be playful, exciting, rewarding and on point. Reward engagement, not checking out. It will go a long way. If you become the exciting teacher, your dog will want to work with you and ignore its surroundings because fun and consistent things come from you as a handler. When you dispense treats, be fun, have your dog do some spins, run away from them and reward, throw it so they have to run and get it, but be up beat! I see so many people just become Pez Dispensers when it comes to rewarding their dog. When rewarding with a ball, keep the ball alive, tug with your dog, don't just stand there! Most importantly, talk to your dog and watch your dog. If you are finding them slowly disengaging with you move yourself to try and reengage with them. If you are in class and your dog is extremely distracted, do not be afraid to go in another room and work on engagement. The dog knows there are still other dogs in the same area, but a less distracting environment may be what that dog needs to build engagement. All dogs are different, some dogs come out of the womb, engaged with anyone holding a ball or dispensing treats. Other dogs it is something that needs to be worked on. But do not give up.
So weather your are in a group class of 10, in your living room or out in public, be more exciting and rewarding then what your dog is distracted by. If you had the option to go to the two teachers above, who would you pick?