Clean Run - November 2012 - (Page 38)

Tips for We all dream of the dog that does the perfect weaves—you say Weave, the dog seeks out the poles, nails the entry, and performs all the poles while you quickly move on to handle the sequence after the weaves. You don’t worry about the entry, or what the dog does in poles. There are several training methods that will allow you to achieve this type of performance. Some of the common methods are channels, channels with wires, slanted poles (weavea-matics), 2x2s, and shaping. Each of these training methods covers the needed aspects of the perfect weave pole performance, including elements like the dog’s footwork, speed, entries, center of gravity, and obstacle independence. Some trainers find that the initial weave pole training method is all they need when harder entries are encountered or as their dog’s speed increases. However, other handlers find their dogs are having issues with entries as the difficulty of entries and the dog’s speed increase. When problems arise, the handlers have to determine if they need to revisit their foundation weave training or find another way to help explain the desired performance to their canine partner. What I am presenting here are some tips you can use to help educate a dog on one aspect of the weave pole performance: entry into the poles. These tips can complement whatever weave pole training method you used to train the dog, and you can pull them out whenever you need them to help explain entries to your dog. Nothing mentioned here is really ground breaking—these ideas have been around for years. But yet, I find many people don’t know them! Maybe this is because when a trainer pays attention to all the details of a training method, the entries are never an issue. But if you’re like me, I sometimes skip or rush a step, usually innocently, because I think my dog seems to understand the desired performance. It’s only later when I am working weave poles in a sequence that the dog’s learning gap appears. These tips are not intended to replace or shortcut your current weave pole training method; you should never stop continuing to train for indepen- dent performance. But these tips can help your dog make those really difficult entries in competition until you’ve reached the point of achieving weaving perfection in your training. Weave Pole Performance 101 First let's talk about weave pole performance and why some entry issues occur. Discussing the performance will help explain why the tips I’m going to give you work. When we discuss a dog’s motion through the weave poles, we agility folk simply call it “weaving.” You might be thinking, duh, this is basic agility 101 terminology. And we all can picture what weaving means in our heads. But, if I needed to explain it to someone who is not in agility, and if I were drawing the motion on paper, I could call the weaving motion a “wave.” Since I am a technical person, I go further and call it a “sine wave.” And in technical terms, when weaves are done correctly, this sine wave has a near zero amplitude: there is just a slight ripple in the wave that is caused by passing each pole. Figure 1 shows the perfect weave motion we all understand. 1 Better Weave Pole Entries By Carol Mount Photos by author To enter the weaves at speed, most dogs will have to collect—they have to change their pace and body position. How much a dog needs to collect not only depends on his size, build, and stride, but also depends on factors like the approach to the weaves poles and the dog’s speed. (Note: Weave pole spacing is also a factor, but since spacing is becoming more uniform, the impact is less.) If the dog does not adjust his stride properly, to collect on the entry, the perfect weaving wave is impacted. What I mean by this is that there are entries where if the dog doesn’t do anything to correct his motion, the sine wave amplitudes at the first poles are larger than normal, and then the movement dampens to near zero as the dog does more Clean Run | November 12 38

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

Clean Run - November 2012
Editorializing: Sportsmanship Is Not Just About Being Nice
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility...
Backyard Dogs
The Four Agreements
Power Paws Drills: Working Opposites
Training with the Stars: Jeannette Hutchison
What’s in Your Toolbox?
Being a Good Student, Part 1
Analyze This!
Tips for Weave Pole Entries
Not a Practice Dog Anymore
The 2-Minute Warm-up
The Worrier: Solutions for the Dog That Is Worried or Afraid
What Is a Ketschker Turn?
Agility Mind Gym: Persistence and Determination
Building Blocks: Building a Better Lead-out

Clean Run - November 2012