The Trick to Perfect Dog Agility Weave Pole Performance

Weave pole trainingWe could make this post real short with a one word answer and that would be consistency.  But there are still a ton of questions about weave training methods as there are quite a few out there. You have:

  1. Push/Pull method that uses standard upright poles and you guide the dog through the weaves with treat or toys.
  2. Wired Weaves where you clip wires to the poles which allow the dog to weave through the poles unassisted.
  3. Slanted Poles where the pole angles can be “opened” allowing the dog to drive through the poles without weaving and slowly raised up forcing the dog to start weaving little by little until the poles are completely upright.
  4. Channel weaves work in a similar way with the exception that the poles remain in the upright position, but are moved apart to form a channel that the dog can drive through and the channel is slowly narrowed until the poles are in line.
  5.  2×2 method that breaks down the full set of weaves into pairs. The dog is taught to drive through a pair much like a jump without a bar, and sets are added and as the dog progresses the sets are moved closer together until the form the standard weave pole set up.

Each method has their own pros and cons, but the best judge of what works for your team is your dog. This is where consistency comes into play. Whichever method you choose or your instructor uses they all have this in common:

  1. Don’t drill your dog. Work on one aspect of the weaves such as, correct entry or increasing speed and end on an improvement if possible.
  2. Keep lessons short, precise and upbeat. They are not trained in one session. Accurate fast weaves often take weeks of five minute sessions.
  3. Be liberal with your treats. Treat your dog like it’s their last meal with you. Weaves are the only obstacle that are completely unnatural to the dog. Help them learn to LOVE them with loads of fun and food.
  4. Keep your goals specific. Only reward correct behaviors. If the dog makes a mistake, just withhold the treat and try again. If they are hitting the wall go back in your training until they can get something correct and start from there.
  5. With 2×2, Channel and Slanted methods, drive is encouraged from the start. Tossing a toy or putting out a target can help keep fast fun. If you are using Wired or Push/Pull you want to work correctness first then add speed. You want to mark any increase in speed with a puppy treat/play party!
  6. If at any point your dog starts to act confused or makes mistakes, go back to a point he was successful and stary their longer, make your increases of difficulty smaller and bring on the treats and happy voice.

Remember, just like any other training you set the tone. If you become frustrated or upset your dog will become disinterested and may even start avoiding the weaves altogether. Take a break, think about what is happening and don’t be afraid to get help. Weave pole training is hard enough without adding emotions to it as well.

Check out our full line of weave pole training equipment and see what you think will work best for you and your dog. If you don’t like making decisions then you need to check out the VersaWeaves that gives you three options for weave pole training.