The best method for training the weave poles
As you know, weave poles can be the most challenging obstacle for your dog to learn. What is the best way to teach them? What are trainers recommending? I myself trained my dog the ‘old-fashioned’ way, with the poles simply straight up and down. I ‘shaped’ her to go in and out by using body language such as gentle knee bumping and hand signals. For awhile she weaved pretty reliably, but then to my surprise (agility is all about surprises!) she began ‘popping’ out of poles from time to time. I added the clip-on wires to my set, and this definitely worked to break the habit. I’ve been a proponent of the wires since. But if I had to do it all over again, I think now I would use the channel method, even though it has a more complex base. It’s been popular with trainers for years, and is touted to be an almost fool-proof method if the process isn’t rushed. Today the popular 2 x 2 (Versaweaves) method is actually very similar in concept to the channel method. Without a doubt it is definitely the rage with all the top trainers, and if you can afford a really good set that will last you through all your years of agility training, this is the one to get. The principle is the same as the weave-a-matic and channel method (just different in its base structure), that is, to create a ‘pathway’ for your dog to run through that does not require your dog to weave ~ at first. The goal is to then slowly bring the poles closer and closer to each other so that your dog begins to weave ever so slightly. Eventually you bring the poles in a straight line. It’s a great method for really getting your dog to mentally understand the concept of weaving.
Don’t worry too much about choosing a set though. Every method has its proponents! The key is patience, no matter what set you use. If you don’t rush the process, and you work at it a little each day to the point of success, your dog will learn them. And remember, we are always here to help you with any questions you have!