In this session, my goal was to start to put more pressure on him by closing the poles a little further.  We are now at about 3.5 inches apart.  Still a visible space between.  Listo has become very eager about doing the poles for his tug reward!  This has presented some behavioural issues that had to be addressed.  This blog post is not about that but I intend to do a separate post on what to do when dogs get too high!  One of the issues that is now coming up is the anticipation of doing the exercise.  This causes him to break the wait.  This is normal in a dog who enjoys the training of this obstacle.  It is absolutely critical that I do not kill that enthusiasm!  At this point I introduce a soft but stern “no” command.  I try to catch it before he enters the poles.  If I am late I will gather him back up with a “no, try again”  There is no frustration or anger in my voice.  I absolutely want him to be willing to try again!  I set him back up and make sure he is able to look at me or the poles with what I will call “the eye of intent”.  This tells me he is focused and willing to try again.  But, he has to be able to look at me if I ask him to.  If his “eye of intent” is too strong, then he is not ready and I will ask him to break it off and get him to pay attention to me and then I will set him up again when I feel he is ready and able to listen.  If his “eye of intent” is too strong, it tends to neutralize his other senses.  I need his whole being available!  When he is doing the poles, I only give him his tug if he is successful.  There are varying degrees of reward.  His tug and consequent play with me with verbal praise is the ultimate reward.  A pat on the head with a “let’s try that again”, is the minimum.  My support position is beside him and moving at his rate of speed he is offering.  If there is any hesitation, I cannot race ahead.  He’ll pop out.  I have to be aware of his mood in the poles and support what he is offering.  If you have a smaller dog then you need to be able to shorten your stride to accomplish this.  Despite some of the behavioural issues we were able to accomplish this sessions goal.  He is able to maintain a playful mood and I love that about him.  His willingness to try again is something I have enjoyed with all my dogs I have trained but I have seen this particularly in my Border Collies!