wishing for weaves

I am still working on teaching Scoop to weave. My husband Jim  says Scoop is weave challenged and I would somewhat agree with that observation. I really want him to slalom the poles. His father Yankee double steps, his mother Taser single steps. His siblings mostly double step.  I want the maternal type of performance and I am not ready to give up the mission. There is nothing wrong with double stepping, some handlers prefer it and think it is better for the dog physically. I will have to accept that performance if Scoop is unable mentally or physically to weave the way I want.  I am just not ready to throw in the dog towel yet!

Scoop will slalom a set of 6 or 8 poles, so I have decided to do something I have never tried before. I have two sets of 6 in the yard, with about 10 feet separating the sets. They are still in a slight channel configuration, about 1.5 inches apart. Scoop will slalom those two sets and you can see a couple views of his performance here in these videos. He doubles in and out of the poles, and that could get in the way of him learning to do 12 consistently… I won’t know till this mission is complete.

For a while I tried to add just two poles at a time but once I got past 8 he would start to double again. Equipment is also an issue. I don’t know if I want to mix sets of 6 with sets of twos which I needed to do if I was doing 8’s and  10’s because of the equipment I own. My two by two’s are 22 inches and Scoop is learning on 24 inch bases. I am going to stay with the two sets of 6 until the channels are closed on both sets. Then I am going to move the sets closer and closer together. Hopefully he won’t switch back to doubling when I straighten out the poles.

Another reason I felt that I needed to stay at 6 poles was that I was also having an issue with Scoop reliably hitting entries and exits at speed. When I clicker trained 2’s and 4’s, he was reliable on entries/exits, but I did not like the slow and cumbersome footwork I got. If I added speed and he missed a gate, he would immediately slow and double step if he thought he was wrong.  More than 6 poles was just not an option when I considered all the separate issues I was having.

In three days I leave for the Agility World Championships. Till then I am going to stay the course and hopefully I can convince my husband to do a bit of training with him when I am gone. 3 or 4 sessions while I am gone should keep him remembering his footwork.

I hope your young dog likes weaving and takes to it like a duck to water, my black swan and I are swimming along:)


5 responses

  1. Curious about Scoop’s pole progress today- was it just a matter of time and reps?
    My gal’s speed certainly improved, with some restraint games, spaced sets as you have videos here, and just experience I think. I was in the hospital during the entire month of November, and my friends helped keep her going to trials, and she developed a propensity to pop out at ten… we’re adding some distance and angles to the entrances and just redo on the rare occasion she pops out. I think she loses focus and is already thinking where to go next…

  2. Nancy, I have just stumbled across your blog… I feel like a broken record to all the other comments, but I too am training a young dog and found it refreshing to read about your challenges as well as your successes. Just want to say: Thanks for writing!

  3. thank you – will look forward to vids when you are home from your adventure. We’ll try to wait with some, ah, “restraint” 🙂

  4. Besides getting organized with the equipment I decided to present to Scoop, I also needed him to really DESIRE to weave, just for fun, and of course for the toy reinforcement. The biggest change I have had with him is in his attitude. When I am in the house and take hold of his collar, and say ‘wanna go POLES’ he gets crazy excited. He would not even react to that word a month ago. He liked the training, and now he loves it. I had to give him time to get there, he just did not have it. The job is not too difficult, and the rewards are great. The restraint making him crazy before I let him weave helps a lot. I grab his collar, he stands on his rear legs and begs for me to let him go. I did this months ago, but he just plain did not care about it. Now he does. I am letting him find his way, and following his lead.
    I will post another video about pumping him up before he runs, and the restraint games we play for entries.


  5. Nancy I positively love your blog! It is so comforting to read about your trials and triumphs with Scoop– each one of us is blessed to work with the dog we have- I truly believe each dog has a lesson for us greater than the small tasks at hand 🙂 I am having the SAME problem with my Pembroke- I shaped with channels/gates/guides summer of 2009, and then was a convert to the 2×2 method for 2010… my instructor wanted us on 12 poles as soon as possible. We have consistent 12 weaves with good entries but IMHO we’ve lost speed, and sometimes get sloppy footwork. When I CAN get her speeding, sometimes she misses a pole (at 22 earlier and 24 now) Can you expound on how you are shaping his slalom with speed – besides trying the two sets of six? I’ve seen corgis burn through the poles, so I know its possible and I believe in my dog’s will to learn and desire to perform with me… I just need to learn how to communicate with her the specifics I’m looking for!

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