Clean Run - June 2012 - (Page 21)

Following up from my previous description of how I train the weaves I will mention a few ideas about weave proofing. Is weave proofing really needed? The answer is probably not, or certainly not to any great extent. Many people get by without any proofing, in fact some of the most successful people in agility I know haven’t got very independent weaves and they support the dog whilst he’s in the poles using their own body. So why do proofing? Well, two reasons really. The first reason is that it can help win classes when you can leave your dog to weave and get to the next obstacle, therefore gaining an advantage over the person who cannot do that; this skill is also critical if you aren’t able to keep up with your dog on course. And, the second reason is that it’s fun! Proofing Your Dog’s Weave Pole Performance By Lee Windeatt, photos by author Firstly, I want to attempt to train the dog to ignore my body language and momentum whilst he’s weaving. To do that I vary where I am and what I am doing every time my dog weaves; or rather, every time my dog enters the weaves. I may stand on the start line and not move at all, I may run diagonally away from the poles, I may recall the dog, or I may run in the opposite direction from the dog. I do all I can to train the dog to ignore my body language when in the weaves (and when on contact equipment), but pay total attention to it on all other obstacles. This is tricky to do, but I believe possible. Contact equipment and weaves should be used for us to get to the next obstacle rather than running alongside the dog. When teaching others I tell them to run in any direction to a random jump or obstacle. So as soon as the handler has said Weave to the dog, she then focuses on a jump wing or long jump pole to run and touch before she checks on the dog. The dog shouldn’t pay any attention to the handler since the reward never comes from the handler, but rather always from the “dead toy” or the reward away from us. A really common mistake most handlers make is that they always run alongside the weaves or beyond the last weave pole. This then becomes learned behaviour and when we hang back the dogs tend to come out of the poles early or not weave as fast. This is very similar to making noises the entire time the dog weaves. Someone came for a lesson last week and had fantastic fast, totally independent weaves from anywhere they stood in my field... as long as the handler was saying “Weave, weave, weave” about 20 times. As soon as the handler didn’t use verbals, both of her dogs stopped and came out of the poles. Although most would be happy with weaves like that, I find this limiting and I know it’s possible to achieve the same level of skill without all the verbal help or physical body momentum. I would like to emphasize that any dog, no matter how well trained, can mess up the weaves now and then; the dog can come out early or miss the entry for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons for missing the entry is if the dog is on the wrong lead leg on the approach and we give them the information too late (as usual) and the dog cannot switch legs to physically get in the weaves. A reason some dogs may come out early is if the weaves are set to go into the corner of the ring and other obstacles are very close to the weave exit. The dogs are reluctant to drive through to complete the poles when it’s so obvious they must be doing that jump next. These are things I try to train to prevent so the dogs never develop this habit. A bit of weave proofing can help; if we go over the top in training then we will be more confident in competition. I would like to emphasize that any dog, no matter how well trained, can mess up the weaves now and then; the dog can come out early or miss the entry for a variety of reasons. | Clean Run June 12 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - June 2012

Clean Run - June 2012
Editorializing: The Other Bank Account
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility
Backyard Dogs
Awesome Paws Drills: Skills Checklist, Part 3
On the Road Again: Safety Measures for Driving with Your Dog
Challenges for Rising Stars
Proofing Your Dog’s Weave Pole Performance
Knowledge Equals Speed! Positive Training Routines
Analyze This!
Perfecting Nutrition for Performance Dogs
Why Dogs Sniff and What to Do About It
Building Blocks: Building Skills Around the Tunnel
From Hoof to Woof: What Riders Can Teach Handlers
New & Common Therapies for Treating Injuries in the Canine Athlete
Agility Mind Gym: Visualization
Control Unleashed Solutions and Answers: Shy & Overwhelmed

Clean Run - June 2012