Ok, I'm sure people here will have good ideas on this So I've had Astro since he was...12 weeks old or so? Can't remember, but the point he, he was adopted young. And since the first day I brought him home, I've worked on reinforcing name recognition, eye contact, and "checking in." Even with the best reinforcers in the world - tug toys, steak, you name it - he only cares for me about 5% compared to how much he cares about the world. Every trainer I've talked to, every book I've read, talks about reinforcing eye contact so that it builds and the dog learns to check in automatically, but with Astro, after months of teaching him to seek out eye contact, he still only glances my way occasionally, then charges ahead. During a 30 minute walk, he will check in maybe 5 times briefly. Otherwise, I have to call him to get him to even glance back at me, and then we get into the routine of "Puppy!", he glances back, he gets rewarded, then he charges out again...he NEVER hangs out for more treats, ever, of his own volition. I vividly remember when we first started out, and I had my clicker and treat bag ready for a short walk, and I was prepared to reward for ANY backwards glance at me or loosening of the leash, and he didn't look back at me once. So I stopped dead, and he still didn't look at me. I lasted 5 minutes in the cold, and he never looked back, and we had to go back inside. Honestly, I think if I hadn't reinforced it so much, he would never glance back at me at all, period. I let him off leash one time after a metric ton of early recall work, and in a second he was over a football field's length away. He never glanced back at me, not even for a second, even after being worked on attention and recall so much - he was G. o. n. e. Scared the daylights out of me! I've been rereading "When Pigs Fly," and it's been helpful, and I'm trying to use the things he finds naturally so reinforcing - being independent, sniffing around - to encourage good behavior by using them as a reward after he is attentive to me for a brief moment. It has been extremely slow going; he holds out very, very far before giving in and looking at me. Even with the leash very short, he sticks his head up and sniffs the air or makes frequent glances behind him rather than ever look up at me. I have to admit at this point that I'm so frustrated that I've leash-popped him a couple times when he was just outright ignoring me as I was calling him, and THAT gets him to focus on me. Comes right to me, stares me down. But obviously I don't want to do that as my primary resort I'm ashamed I did it, but at this point the issue feels...not dire, but definitely not progressing the way I'd like it to. We don't go backwards, we just never move forward. So, for those of you with dogs who naturally don't give a rip about you or what you're doing, what are your go-to methods to encourage nice heeling and other handler-focused behaviors? How do you become more interesting than the world out there? I know that I'm a novice in the grand scheme of things, but Astro is a really hard nut to crack even to my trainer at this point. Working with my trainers' clients' dogs is a cakewalk compared to him, because they offer "I'm paying attention to you" behaviors at some point on their own. Astro doesn't offer attention, he has to be solicited (and frankly, that doesn't work 100% either), and that's what we need to move beyond somehow. I've been waiting to jackpot him for the realization that staying close to me produces good results for months, and he has yet to care. I wonder sometimes if I've inadvertently been aversive somehow, but honestly, he's a tough dog who is insanely difficult to rattle, and so far it just feels like he's indifferent, rather than avoiding out of nervousness. The one or two leash pops came recently out of sheer desperation, it'd been months of nothing but a cheerful voice and treats at any right move on his part. If the situation dictates that he wants something from me, he'll bore holes into my eyes and be very attentive; it's when I'm asking anything at all of him that the world becomes too intoxicating to pay attention, even though 99.9999% of the time I'm not using even mild no-reward-markers, just lots of positive reinforcement whenever he offers any small step toward the right behavior. Keep in mind that I'm sort of in a pickle where I can't really let him burn off any "explore and run around energy" off leash, because of my living situation, and I'm sure that's a big part of it He can't be trusted at the off-leash dog park, for the aforementioned reason and others, and I live in NYC and don't have a fenced in yard; leashed walks and agility lessons are it until I move out.