I tried to get some video of some of our practice sessions this morning, not that it is that exciting but it does show what I am talking about but for some reason I just can not upload it, so not sure what I messed up there...but....
It just seems you can never have enough foundation. I keep finding little or sometimes big holes in my training. So one thing that has cropped up in our training is the fact that I think Breeze would LOVE to run an agility course with her head turned around backwards watching me the entire course-I am mostly way behind her after all. You know she is actually pretty good at running and jumping with her head turned around, but I am sure it would be much safer if she was a little more focused at times on what is coming up. One place it is really showing up is the start line. I could seriously sit for a long time waiting for her to look and find the first obstacle, so I started doing a few exercises from Susan Garrets One Jump DVD. I started on the flat without a jump just throwing out a toy and then I would click and release her to the toy when she looked away from me. She actually did very well when there was no jump and we were working on the flat. I added in the jump and boy, she can wait me out for a really long time before she looks away from me. I was not able to simply release her for really looking at the jump because I just plain was not getting that so I was clicking for looking away or looking at the jump and I will increase my criteria as she gets the game.
Another misconception that Breeze has is that the first jump is sort of optional, and it is hilarious to see how far out of her way she will go to miss that first jump. I have been working on that by just rewarding in front of the first jump even when we are doing a longer sequence, and I am just walking around the back yard and rewarding when she goes over a jump and doing a little variation of the Linda M exercises on page 24 of her book-basically putting Breeze close to a jump and I go far away from it and then reward for going over it and putting Breeze very far from a jump and I stand closer to it and then reward when she takes the jump.
The funny thing is that with Cherry I have mostly trained her with the ball and throwing things, and she is sort of fuzzy on the idea of say coming out of a tunnel and looking for me, she is scanning the horizon looking for a flying ball, so with her I am working on sometimes rewarding from my body because she is very object focused. Do you suppose one day I will get the exact right balance in my training of handler and object focus? LOL, what fun would that be to not have all this stuff to fix????