One thing I have learned recently ... once a sheltie has the taste of food, he will drifted away from his toy! This apply to Sizzle!
Sizzle came to me as an old puppy, he wasn't the brave of boy (hence, we started our clicker training much later) and he took more than two weeks to start eating his meal properly. I was worried and started offering him chicken/beef/lamb/fish ... anything you name it, I've tried it but he just not interested in food. Other than he is not interested in food (also make the clicker training hard), he was happy to play his little purple/pink fritter toy with me.
Then, later, when he got a little older, he was still not too keen on food/treat, I bought a lot of motivational toys from Clean Run to encourage him to tug, we managed to do a little tugging but not great, he still prefer me to chuck the toy for him to fetch. I kept one of the toys (like a food pouch with tuggy) for Flyball training only and he was mad each time he saw that tuggy. It was a great reward for him to run back to me in Flyball and also a great reward for me to get him to chase the toy and start a little tugging.
Then, we stop flyballing and go back full time on Agility. Food is not a must but comes into handy if the dog loves the food. With running contacts, toy is great, I can just throw it when I see him hitting the area but not so easy with the see-saw. Sizzle is only just over 4kg, so to encourage him to stay on the see-saw til it tilt, toy is not the best option! I have tried it, he got so excited and leave the see-saw too early. People who helped me train/feed him on the see-saw knew how much he dislike good food!!
Until a few months ago (maybe in late September/early October), he started to take a great interest in food, chicken/ham/roast beef/cheese ... anything. He started to beg a lot from everybody at training. He refused to work with toys anymore or if he does, he tends to lost motivation. I tried hard to get him back on toys and ignored the food but it is not easy if you train in a class. He is ok if he is the only dog there and see nobody feeding their dogs. Unfortunately, in our current class, we were the only one that work with toys! Sizzle totally lost interest in his toy when he smells the treats! When he was in the puppy class before, all the puppy owners were very good, they only use food on the contacts, so all of us were working hard to get the puppies to play with the toys and that work so well with Sizzle. I wish I can go back to join the puppy group.
Last week at training, we were working on a sequence (fig below), jump, A Frame, round the back of jump in front of the A Frame. Eleanor told me this would be difficult for a dog with running contact. I tried that wtih Sizzle, uncountable times, he kept shooting into the tunnel from the A Frame. I thought the jump #2 is more obvious to him, so I must have tried to push him too far left, so he took the tunnel. I just can't get him to stay with me so I can push him to go between the tunnel and jump #2. We tried that too many times and every single time was a failure! At the end, I have to break down the sequence and did the "call in to me" after the A Frame but he still go into the tunnel! We did managed that at last but we were both exhausted!