Friday, April 27, 2007

Weave Poles!

My Mom is by no means an expert in weave poles. But she works hard on her own and with our trainer to get my (and Gracie's) weave poles accurate and always faster.

When I started agility, Mom and I were both beginners. And, when you are both beginners there is so much to learn. She and I started out on the weave-a-matics, then did some channel in our backyard. But neither was really right for me, since she and I were both new to these foreign things.

I learned my weaves pretty early on, but I was slow. So then we had to work on getting them faster. I was a very young pup - not even two. But Mom didn't want me to 'get used' to being slow in the weaves, and we were moving up in classes very quickly. Suddenly my slower weaves began to 'hurt us' in competition - we weren't making time. So we started experimenting.

First she got out my favorite ball and used it as a speed incentive. Well I popped out. Then she tried my favorite treat, that worked occasionally, but I would still pop out sometimes. Then we found a magic trick - she used the treat as a lure, just 6-8 inches in front of my nose as I went through the poles. No popping and boom! I was faster, and getting faster all the time.

Sometimes she even puts her hand down in front of my nose during competition, when I'm getting unsure and - off I go, two footing faster, even during trials. So she's pretty happy with my weaves now, and I enjoy them much more. We keep working at it and as I get more confident and more sure, she knows I will be even faster.

Then came Gracie. Mom was determined not to train her in the weaves so that she was slow. No way was she going to go through what she did with me. And she learned a lot between the time to teach me and the time to teach Gracie. #1 goal with Gracie's weaves? NEVER SLOW HER DOWN!

Mom used the channels with Gracie first. Always using an end reward and always making it the most positive experience possible. She gradually moved the poles closer and closer - but there came a time when Gracie just didn't get the weave action. So then Mom put on weave guides and continued working with her using food as a lure - doing an in and out motion as Gracie moves in and out of the weaves. And always keeping the food lower than Gracie's nose, to encourage her to drive through them. Gradually, Mom faded the guides and the food and rewarded at the end of the weaves, then at the jump after the weaves, then, then, then....

In just a few weeks, at about 2 - 10 minute sessions each day - Gracie got her weaves. Mom always loves that moment when "we get it". Makes her real proud. Gracie is still new to the weaves and has only 'got it' for about two weeks, so Mom still helps her with the in and out motion with out a lure, and she is about 2 feet from Gracie now when she does it.

Mom's main goal was to never slow Gracie down in the weaves. And it has really paid off. Gracie is already faster in the weaves than I, and she will definitely become more and more confident with them over time, and most probably get even faster.

Mom may not have followed all 'the rules' - but the outcome is very exciting on how she trained Gracie on the weaves. In the end, it worked and that means a lot!!!

Gracie has only been in two trials and tends to 'run off' some, but she always gets her weaves and with real enthusiasm!

1 comment:

  1. as i was google-ing the net for some info regarding weaving technique, i bump into ur site again...

    i've post up some pic from my weaving practise...any comment on my footing?

    we had been struggling wit speed too... 1st attempt would be fast n then will get progressively slower...maybe we shld try out ur method with gracie..


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