Training has really been going well this past week. We've been mixing it up quite a bit with some clicker training and formal obedience, and we've been training less frequently - meaning not every day. Trying to work on some skills with the clicker that will help in the trials - like focus, sits, and fronts.
Today we trained at the club and tried to work in more distractions than usual. We can't create the trial-like setting, but we threw in a few odd things to try to distract him. When we did articles there were loose dogs wandering around the ring and a couple people walking around the article pile. It did take him a little longer to work the pile, but he got the correct articles each time.
When we did the other exercises, we also had people and dogs wandering around the ring. Not a problem with heeling and figure 8s. I am really pleased with his heeling lately - at least in practice he is staying with me. There was a blip in the drop on recall. He failed to come when I called him from the drop. I think he was distracted by the dog behind me so that gave me an opportunity to go in and correct him to show him what I wanted. Hopefully, next time he's distracted, he'll remember he needs to work through it.
Really slow sits and sometimes no sits in the go outs have been a problem in the trials. To try to correct this, I've started working on the sits away from me with the clicker. I've been clicking and treating for sits at various distances away from me. Trying to make sure he understands the command in different locations and situations. Maybe with the clicker training he will be more responsive with the increased distance when I'm across the ring.
We're still working on the rear-end awareness with the box. And, we've added focus training to the mix. I'm clicking and treating whenever he looks at me. It appears to be helping with his focus.