So Barbara figured out a new way for me to ask for the canter depart: Sit two (and only two) strides and then swing my leg back and scoop with my seat. The reason for sitting was that it supposedly puts me in a more correct position to ask (not leaning forward, hips in all the right directions; core engaged).
PJ reacted to the swing my leg back more than the scoop with my seat, which is incorrect, but we figured we would deal with that issue later (can’t do changes if he doesn’t go off my seat). For the show, it’s just important that he gets the depart when I ask and without throwing his head (did I mention I have a show this weekend???!!!).
Of course we figured this out towards the end of the ride, so I only tried it going to the left (his easier direction). He was getting really tired and we didn’t want to push it by trying it to the right. I’ll practice on my own tomorrow.