Here’s a quick video that shows the importance of maintaining eye contact, not with your dog, but with the path and obstacles your dog should be taking. The course diagram and a second video are after the break.
As you can see in the first part of the video, I have lots of issues sending her around the back of the tunnel. I’m so worried about if she’s going to run away or take the tunnel that I put a lot of pressure on her to move in the wrong direction. It was almost as if she had no choice but to take the tunnel!
In the second run, I focus completely on trusting her to follow me and I maintain eye contact not with her, but where I want her to go. She performs flawlessly! Getting her to go around the back of the tunnel is still a bit tricky, but we get it after I slow down enough. The issue was that I was “pulling” her by staying ahead instead of “pushing” her from behind. As soon as I got that taken care of, she did exactly what I wanted.
As for missing the double jump, I have no idea why I act like I’m avoiding a land mine. I did that repeatedly throughout the night and it was completely my fault when she didn’t take the double jump.
Here’s some other courses we did that night after I started focusing my eye contact from Nova to the course. You can tell the huge difference in confidence she has and the best part is she doesn’t get all flustered and run away!