For agility, I just really don't like anything that is looked at as a 'correction' around the equipment unless it's really a life or death/safety issue (like dog keeps tearing off to visit White Fang the killer dog in class).
So especially for my younger dogs, I really work on my timing and figuring how I can get my pup to do something RIGHT so I can mark it and reward. The clicker really really helps me because it improves my timing and makes class/learning much clearer in the learning phases. For learning new and harder things like proper equipment (2on/2off) performance or wrapping around a jump or getting the entry (or exit) on the weave poles.
It seems to help if I start of with TONS of marking/rewards when initially starting classes (hungry dog with REAL treats) so my dog is learning the rewards only come from me, they come fast enough before my dog gets bored and looks for their own fun (running off an across the room suddenly also helps with this
) , and I ignore and do NOT treat/reward for all the crap they may offer that I do not want.
Other big help for boredom is not standing around the entire hour with my leashed dog connected to me, and brief bouts on the equipment. I take a crate to class and if I am not working with my dog, she is crated.
This is a massive help (hey, I did this before Susan Garrett's crate games!) because they learn to chill and relax when it is not their turn, and I am SO much more able to pay attention and learn from the other dogs/handlers/instructor when my dog is put away. I don't even stand near the crate most of the time (sometimes have to cover it with a blanket if they choose to not chill
When it is near our turn it's all WHOOHOO WE
are on our way! So whether I release the beast and we tug to where we start, or just milk out treats from my fist as we go to where we need to go in the room (reward for staying right with me). All happy happy fun fun fun when we are 'working' and then I put them away when we are done.
This is a huge help to make it clearer WHEN we are working (and they need to pay attention) and not. Plus they are more excited about me ( I just released them) what I've got (treat/toy) cause they were just a bit bored in the crate, and 'the job' is more fun cause they are in the right mindset!
We have to remember, that because agility is ultimately and OFF leash activity we want our dogs to tear around doing joyously taking direction from us............ a ton of 'agility' is just our dogs learning to look/listen/get direction from us cause they WANT to. When we slide down the slippery slope of they HAVE
to do stuff on an agility course this adds the stress and nonjoyous behaviors that are almost impossible to break later.
I really do recommend those short training tabs you can just leave on your dogs collar in class and when they are in the crate. Sometimes it's nice to have a bit of a handle to hold but then you can just drop it and quickly move on with out having to fumble and futz and waste time with a regular leash.
Leerburg has one I like that you can attach a leash to (or not). Leerburg | Leather Pull Tab