Wicked Weaves

When you want faster weaves, there are several things to consider.
  • Does your dog actually understand weaving?
  • Is it only the weave poles they slow up on? (it may actually be less noticeable on other obstacles?)
  • Weave pole spacing (especially since if you have a long-backed dog).

To answer the first, if your dog doesn’t get weaving, go back to the basics with him. 2X2 weaves seem to get consistently great results, but if you prefer another method, by all means, go for it! A personal favorite here is the weave wires. They set your dog up for success every time. If it’s an understanding issue, your dog will speed up naturally as he progresses learning the weaves. Remember, it is absolutely vital to make weaves as positive as possible. Corrections here MUST be of the ‘oops try it again’ in a cheery voice variety. If you use a harsh correction on weaves with your dog, they will be slow, trying to avoid the correction. Use small rewards for slower weaves, and awesome amazing rewards for fast weaves. Dogs do get the value of things! Good job = good job, boy! Great job= treat and good job, boy. AWESOME! = treat, tug, and good job, boy! Make the weaves the ‘new teeter’ and the best obstacle ever!

If it’s not understanding weave poles, take a long hard look at the rest of the obstacles. While Higgins loves Teeters, is it possible that he lacks overall drive? If it’s a drive issue, treat it as such! Give praise and treats and find something that motivates your dog. Use it! Work with your dog to find what he wants in exchange for whipping through weaves.

Try videotaping your dog going through the weaves. Does he seem to be bending his back a lot? Is his stride off? Consider moving him onto 24″ weaves and see if that helps him. Try mending the striding by doing a weave pole dance, or setting cavallettis before the weaves to get him entering on the right side, with the right foot. You’ll have to watch carefully to figure out which foot that is for him.

I have heard of dogs not liking weaves because they smack their feet on the support bar. Check the dogs’ nails to see if they are tapping the base painfully, or consider using stick in the ground weaves (if you do not want to compete). This issue can also be addressed by striding as dictated above. If none of this helps, take your dog to the vet and check to see if there’s an underlying physical issue that is causing his lackluster love of weaves.

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2 Comments on “Wicked Weaves

  1. My Springer Spaniel has amazingly fast weaves at home—equal to a border collie. He has to weave for his dinner. But at class or trials he is not nearly so fast. Should I still treat him at class for doing less than great weaves?

    • Hmm… that’s a good question! I’ll open it up for discussion!

      Personally I would reward him, but not a big huge OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY award.

      That, or maybe it SHOULD be a better reward at the end, something for him to run to! I’m split on this one. Weaving his way to dinner is definitely a big drive for the bowl, so maybe if he knows he gets something freaking AWESOME at the end of the weaves- maybe a few chunks of dried liver or cheese?