This will be long. While it is in part about weight pull training, it's really related to training philosophy/choices.
Soleil is almost 4. She was supposed to be a bitework dog, but she's too wimpy. She is a high drive, reactive dog. I started her weight pull training poorly, posted her, let her watch Xanny while Soleil went nuts. When I started pulling w/her, she just wanted to run, or would get frustrated and bark jump and bang. This was brief (a month or 2) and then a very talented trainer stepped in to help me out. I started doing more drag weights, teaching to be slow and steady. When she was on the track, she still wanted to bolt. Over the course of 6 months or so, her patience improved, and she learned to pull on the track fairly calmly.
We started competing, and in competition, Soleil still had a short fuse. When the weight got heavier, she would start to bark and bang.She could pull for about 12 seconds. Over the course of the year, she got calmer, and could pull for 17-18 seconds.
The next season (last year) she did quite well between March and June/July. She was not quite reaching her full potential, but darn close, even pulling 20-21 seconds. At some point during the year, I lost use of the track, and could only do drag work for training. Soleil did not have much time off, and I kept her conditioned for most of the year. I got too competitive, and pushed her hard on crappy tracks. By October, she was going downhill. She was reverting to barking and banging sooner and sooner. Instead of stopping her immediately, I would let her go on a while, hoping she'd settle down a bit and pull, so we could win.
I gave her from Oct to March off, except for a little training and 1 competition in Nov. Drag weights were going fairly well, no track access. Started competing in April, she's down to 10-12 seconds before she starts barking and banging. While training, she gets wound up before I release her, but she does not bark and bang. I've started correcting her for the wound up barking ( I started w/verbal, no reasponse, then flat collar jerks, she'd get spazzier, then a nudge in the head w/a sneaker, some response). But, she pulls correctly when released in training, in competition she often backs up and starts banging.
So, I'm at a point where I need to make some decisions. Almost all of Soleil's weight pull training has been positive. I think she still enjoys pulling. But, maybe it's too overwhelming for her little brain. Some people have advised me to do some serious correction with her on a training track. I'm not sure I'm willing to go that far. This dog is not just a working dog, she is my pet. It may be possible that I can become a more adept trainer and learn to calm her down. I can stop weight pulling, we've started in agility, she's enjoying it a lot, and my trainer (pure positive) thinks she's got a lot of potential. But I wonder if the same thing might occur, if she'll get so wound up she'll be dysfunctional w/the pressure of competition.