Yours is a common problem, as Pat said if he is food motivated you are in luck.
Besides the watch commands, I start by teaching all my puppies to TARGET TO MY HAND. Very easy & fast to teach. I would start by making sure every bite of food he gets is from your hand (include your oldest son in this training to overcome this fear.)
Step #1 Put a treat in your hand, open palm, let him eat it (simple) repeat this several times.
Step #2 Treat in open palm, move hand to left or right. When he follows it let him get the treat. Repeat both directions, up, & down. When he is following the treated palm consistantly procede to step 3
Step # 3 Put treat in palm, close your hand, if he looks at your hand, open your hand & give him the treat.
Step #4 (Closed hand with treat) Move hand to left, he follows he gets treat, move hand to right, he follows he gets treat. Simple!
Step # 5 Time to start moving. (Don't put the leash on since you could get tangled & you don't want to remind him of a learned behavior like dropping his head when the leash is attached.) Start with the treat in open palm & have him follow it as you move around, give treat. Work up to treat in closed hand as you move around. Be sure to hold your palm down because this is how it will look when you have a leash in your hand.
After you have praticed this until he will follow you with head up put the leash on.
Step #6 Attach leash, if you are good with the leash roll it up in your left hand, put the treat between your thumb & forefinger. Show him the treat & start moving, reward when he gos for the treat. DON'T let him jump at the treat, keep it right above his raised nose. Now put the treat in your closed left hand, fingers down, just above his head. Start moving, when he follows open your fingers & there is the treat! Work up to moving fast, changing direction, make him catch you for the treat (you should do this off lead too.)
If you have problems with the leash, work them out beforehand. You can also start by dropping the leash & letting it drag behind. You can also hold it in your right hand until you both get the hang of it.
I don't use a verbal command other than to say the dogs name & "GOOD DOG". In the Show ring nerves can kick in & having commands to remember as well as everything else can cause a meltdown. Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) is my motto!
Until he has this new behavior imprinted in his mind I would give every bite of food from you hand. Remove the dog bowl! All food comes from hands not inanimate object on floor!
Best of luck, but remember that good conformation is only part of Showing in Conformation. Attitude plays a big role. I have seen many beautiful dogs who never finished because they hated showing. I have seen not so great dogs with lots of attitude finish quickley.
Have fun, this excercise helps with Agility, Rally, & Obedience too. Will improve your WALKIES too. Attending an Agility or Rally class will help build his confidence.
Ill look at the book, try to get it. I also took a look at the site. Seems like it will help alots.
Thank you ill keep that in mind. Ill have friends and family come over while im working with her and express their opinions of her. I will also keep in touch with my breeder. She doesnt do shows anymore but im sure she can offer up a little information…what is IMO? idk why but i never understood that. lol
The show is actually in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It is given off the the Sioux Empire Kennel Club. Ill be working with her non stop until we go to that show. I figured well just see how she does and go from there. She may be good or she may just be pet material. Id like to try either way 🙂