That is absolutely the way to get that started. It is really wise of you to throw in those spins as quick breaks for Asher. I know you had some rough moments in a match a couple of months ago and I'm really happy to see you didn't let that stop you. You should throw in some work on utility exercises at this point too. For Javelin we taught him a number of utility exercises before open and novice exercises.
Asher starts to feel pressure doing the dowel work from us being so close and me 'staring' at him so intently so I sometimes have to break it up with spins and touches to reset him. We are doing some more advanced stuff in class like working on the jump exercises and send out exercises, drop on recall, distance position changes, and dumbbell work. Right now he tends to like those exercises a fair bit. Now that I've moved into the more advanced class we're doing more group heeling exercises and those are tougher for him. He really feels 'pressure' in situations like that. That's the biggest thing we're working through with him. "Pressure" and distractions (and he becomes more distracted when he feels more pressure).
The key to success in the long run is to keep things fun and to make practice harder than trials so the dog gets to the trial and says "oh sure, got it mom" rather than "holy heck this is terribly hard." You should get the trainer at your class to help you figure out what size dumbbell to order. You can then base article sizing off the dumbbell size. You may also want to experiment with what kind of dumbbell to use, plastic or wood. Lily doesn't care about what her dumbbell is made of but Javelin definitely prefers a plastic dumbbell to wood.
Ya I'll try to chat with her about that. She fills up our entire hour from edge to edge to give us all as much training time as possible and our class is surrounded on each side by her other classes so finding time to squeeze in some extra chat time can be a bit tough. I would like to squeeze in a few more privates I jsut want to be 'ready' to do privates. Last private was great but mostly we just worked on attention in his settle and then holding that attention for a few steps as I backed up. Which is something that we definitely need to work on, attention in new environments and I've been trying to get out more to keep practicing that, but I don't want to pay for another private till I can do at least a little more than that in new places haha.
Let her know by email or test if you can that you want to work on fitting a dumbbell so you can have that quick minute. When Javelin and I started our privates it was all about attention and a few steps with good heads up too. That is the most important foundation.