On the plus side - Steeler had a GREAT agility class tonight. We have a new dog in class - a Springer Spaniel who seems very out going. Steeler barked at him as we were coming up the path to the agilty field - so when we did our first run I asked for them to wait on the other side of the fence while we ran. And actually - Steeler was just a little bit distracted - but didn't leave me to go check them out. Catie had set up a novice course since a couple of people are competing this weekend for the first time and Steeler did GREAT. We've started putting him in his crate if he drifts off to be sniffy to break the pattern of leaving me for something he deems more interesting. No harsh words or handling - just a "oh you need a break" and into the crate for 10 seconds. What a difference that has made in just a couple classes. I really need to work on following through at home too. We ran the course 3 times tonight, and the second and third time Elliot (the new dog) was in the ring for the 2nd and 3rd run. On the 2nd run Steeler looked at him once and moved in his direction but was quickly back on course with me when I called him. And when I say "moved in his direction" - well Steeler probably only took maybe 3 steps in that general direction.
In the last month or so we have done a few other things as well. Steeler and I went to another APDT Rally match and Catie had run thru's at her house at the end of September. I am glad I went - even though it was raining! It wasn't too crowded and the people were all really nice - I played judge for someone and people played ring crew and in general were really helpful. Steeler was a bit distracted and had trouble running with all of those people and dogs watching. So I went back to starting with a restrained recall across the ring and working in the far corner. On the plus side - he was willing to play tug with me down there and we worked a series of jumps to the dog walk - with the dog walk coming back towards all the activity - and he nailed his contacts! On his last run - I did the same thing but instead of spending most of my time down there in the far corner - I played tug for 15 seconds - then did the jumps to the dog walk. Dog walk to table - then ran the entire novice course from the table. :-)