Last night we worked on heeling, go outs, finishes, fronts, position changes, and dumbbell. Might sound like a lot, but other than heeling, it was just a few good reps of each before moving on to something else. Heeling was still all on leash, but we were able to successfully increase speed a little bit and really worked on turns and pivots. I am loving the effort I'm getting. I've been keeping cheese in my mouth for heeling (pro tip I got at our last trial) and spitting pieces to him randomly. I'm slowly starting to spread out the amount of time between cheese bits and he is responding well so far. I think it will still be awhile before we go off leash for proper heeling, but we are definitely making progress!
For go outs, he is very snappy and straight for the first 5 reps or so and then he starts drifting, not really sure why. We got out the board to do fronts and finishes and worked on proofing straight fronts a bit. I took a page out of your book Sharon
and turned my back to him and called him to front. The first time he sat at a 90 degree angle more or less in heel position, basically halfway between heel and front. LOL the next time I helped him a bit and I could see the light bulb go on. We also did a few position changes on the board in random order. He really doesn't like to do a fold-back down from a stationary standing position (he does it just fine for a moving down, but not from a standstill), but I got one nice one out of him and threw a big party for it. The board was uncomfortable for his legs to rest on, which I think encouraged the fold-back. I think we will continue doing this until he does it consistently.
This morning before work, I did two recalls before releasing him to his breakfast. The first was just a normal one. The second I added a drop and boy was that drop quick and snazzy! Loved it.
For puppy update: The pups are 4.5 weeks old now and the breeder said she is starting to see their little personalities coming out more and that one in particular makes really good eye contact is pretty smart for such a young pup. Of course their temperaments/personalities are subject to change a little in the next few weeks, but I'm willing to bet that she's right and that little one will be ours. :-)