I'm seeing a difference in Jackson's attitude since we started the e-course - a game a day for the month of August. I can't go into detail about the games, but I will say the ones that I've found the most helpful are the various versions of restrained recalls and rewarding in the 'reinforcement zone.'
We were at the club today to train - make that 'play' - and he was really up. Of course we were the only ones at the club so that may have had something to do with it : ) And, since they have agility scheduled at the club tonight, all of the ring gates were down leaving a big, wide-open space where three rings normally would be. The more room available - the faster Jackson's recalls are, so he was really 'flying' today. It's so much more fun to watch him run than it is to watch him slowly walk through the exercises.
We worked some restrained recalls and some regular recalls - throwing in a few drops too. I'm also doing a lot of rewarding in the 'reinforcement zone,' which is a variation of 'choose to heel.' I'm hoping this will help with his heeling and cut down on the lagging.
We did articles by placing the article pile in the middle of the room - about 3-4 times further than it would normally be. Instead of sending him to the pile, I ran out to the pile with him and then as soon as he found the correct article, I ran back to the other end of the room to give him his very favorite reward - a spoonful of canned dog food. I did get trotting out and back from the pile instead of the usual slow walk.
We did a few other exercises and overall, I tried to keep it fast and upbeat, which resulted in him acting a lot more focused and energized. I don't know if there will be carryover into the trial setting or when working with distractions, because we still have the lack of confidence problem that's been hard to overcome. However, I don't see how having all this fun and games can hurt, and maybe I'll be able to see a difference in his attitude at the trials we're entered in the end of the month.