Oreo and I had a good rally class yesterday.
When we got there I did lots of treating just to get him comfortable. Then, we went out in the ring to "warm up". There were a few other dogs/people there too. I gave Oreo treats again. He wasn't able to focus on me too much, but wasn't freaking out. Then, he started sniffing in the dirt.
I know sniffing is a stress signal for many dogs, but for Oreo it is a sign of being relatively comfortable. If he's able to turn his back on everyone and sniff, he's doing good!
That's when I upped the ante a bit, and started only treating for eye contact.
Our class started with a course. Oreo gave me some eye contact on our way in the ring. Plus, he gave me some when we were heeling too. Although, he wasn't able to do it consistently. We are still struggling with "fronts". Overall though, Oreo did excellent, way better than last time, and I had so many opportunities to reward him on course. We'll keep working on keeping his attention while heeling.
After everyone tried the course, we worked on some new moves, with everyone in the ring.
The fact that Oreo could do anything with all those people/dogs around made me really proud.
He had to stop every once in a while to stare at some people, but quickly returned to me.
Here is Oreo practicing his contacts at home: