Finally had a chance to shoot some video. Light was terrible in my yard at that hour and I had to shoot from that weird angle or I'd be shooting into the sun but oh well. I started out the session as normal with the treat gizmo and he was 12 hits/13 reps, 92% (missed the 5th rep). Then I put the gizmo away and put his tug under the flower pot. I mixed in some reps where I had the toy on me. He was 8/9, 89% (missed the first rep, definitely overexcited) for the toy under flower pot and 6/6, 100% for the toy on me (32/34, 94% for the whole session). BUT he was looking at me for all but one of each type of toy rep. Of the reps where he was looking at me with the flower pot/tug for reward he was looking at me at the very end of the board for 7/7. Of the reps where he was looking at me and I had the toy on me he was looking at me as he was coming down the board for 4/5, looked at me at the end of the board for 1/5. None of this is terribly surprising but it's interesting to see it all broken down into numbers, at least for me. The moral of the story is that he's going to look at me if I use a toy. I imagine if I use the flower pot/toy more often he'll start looking ahead again but then I have the same problem of fading it away. One answer is to stop rewarding the hits unless he's looking/running forward. But I'm not sure I can bring myself to do it, it's taken me so long to get that hit at the bottom. On the other hand I fear we'll never progress if I don't up the ante a bit. The other option is to add a jump or tunnel after the plank and reward him after that and I like that option a lot better but the problem is that I have no more room in my yard, I can only do it out at the practice field. So I'm back to thinking that maybe I'll stick with the treat gizmo for 2 more weeks and wait until he's solid on the low dogwalk before I worry about proofing and fading the gizmo. At some point I'll have to work on proofing/fading in the yard too just to get enough reps in but I'll start out at the field where my options are more practical.
Here's the video. Feel free to 'tsk tsk' all you want at my late clicks, wow my timing was bad for some of those. I need to tape more often so I can keep tabs on any bad habits I'm getting into.