Which Dog Agility Weave Training’s For You?
When teaching weaves there are many ways to get it done and it really depends on what your goals are and what works best for your dog. There are methods that focus on muscle memory and those that focus on drive from day one. So which one should you try? Here are some short stories that just might help you decide.
I took a class with my mix, Savannah, and we used the 2 x 2s. I can’t testify to them, however, because the class ended before she got a chance to really understand. She never really had the heart for agility, so I decided to try some fun weave poles at home. I bought some wires, and those seem to work. I haven’t had the guts to take them off, though. 😀 In a few weeks with more training, I will. The people I bought the wires from said that some dogs pop out with wire training. Anyone have that happen? Any tips for preventing it from happening?
Pamela Spock says:
NCIsraeliSpeed, thanks for your comment. About the problem with a dog popping out of the weave poles in wire training. One thing I found is that the height that the wires are places is important. Too high, they might not see them. Too low, and they might try to hop out of them. But once your dog seems pretty reliable this way, it’s time to start SLOWLY raising the wires up (out of your dog’s line of sight). But not too fast that your dog starts popping out again. The goal is to get him less and less dependent on the wires. In other words, I don’t recommend just taking them off entirely. Raise them instead.
I’ve been doing agility for literally a week and I thought the big difference with the 2×2 method is that it treats the poles as a chained repeat of a single obstacle (two poles) instead of one long 12 pole nightmare. The biggest advantage being teaching drive from the start.
Pamela Spock says:
Hello Rich, you are right. The 2 x 2 allows for poles to be separated, forming a channel (path) for your dog to run through, increasing drive. What a previous commenters recommended was putting food “targets” (treats on top of a plastic lid) partway into the path to increase speed. Then of course the poles are slowly brought closer together in following training sessions.
Flying Bichon says:
I live in the Northeast so we had about four to five feet of snow in the backyard…so yes, we set them up inside. Mulligan has only been doing agility for a year and speeding up his poles was our winter project. I would suggest moving the poles through out the house if you have room. A change of environment is always a good idea. I also only used six poles for this but it did increase his speed with twelve poles. I would say 5 times faster now.
I started seeing the biggest improvement with Mulligan’s speed through the poles when I began including them in his meal time routine. He is a real chow hound LOL!! I split his dinner in to two meals. At first I needed my husbands help. He held the food bowl about ten feet away from the poles. I held Mulligan at the opposite end of the poles and wound him up to get his meal. When he was pulling towards the poles I would release him. He only went straight to his food bowl once without weaving. In that instance we picked up his food bowl. Now he barrels through the poles to get to his dinner and he is even faster to get the second part of his meal. I always do the second bowl of food in the opposite direction. We did this twice a day for a month. Now we do it for one meal a day adding difficult entries up to 180 degrees now to the regime to keep it fun and interesting. I also do not need anyone to babysit the food bowl anymore which is nice.
NOTE: When using your dog’s meal as incentive keep in mind that bolting food and then running can cause intestinal issues. If you chose to do lessons at mealtimes we highly suggest you use very small amounts of food as the reward. After a couple runs as mentioned above you can then give your dog his full meal. Just like us, eating a full meal directly after doing a long session of exercise is not good either, so keep the session short.
My first dog learned using wires. I didn’t like them. He learned to follow the curve of the wires and never learned to drive through. My 2nd dog, now 3 years old, learned using food on target plates between channel poles. As he learned entrances from any angle, using leash to keep him from cheating :), I moved the target plate gradually along the straight line between poles. I like this method as it teaches independent weaves from the start and the dog learns to work with drive. As he learned to work all of the poles with accuracy and speed, I gradually moved the poles into a straight line. I have a set of channel poles from Agility Ability. I found them useful, except they are difficult to adjust. Since I don’t have facilities at home, I have to take them to parks and they are a pain to take apart and put back together.
I train my class members with the 2 x 2’s. But I saw Affordable Agility’s VersaWeaves and think they are better because they can be used as a channel set too. I’ve always thought the 2 x 2’s to be hard in the setup, but the channel weaves are easier in the setup. But they are essentially the same method, and it does work.
I did get affordable agility’s wires. They are great. No sagging when iced up even. I think this method is the best for me, but I’ve not had experience with the other methods yet.