Clean Run - August 2019 - 27
© MATT ALLISON PHOTOGRAPHY
By Sandy Rogers
I often remind myself that agility is an
evolving sport. If we are to be better
trainers and handlers, we have to embrace the challenges that come with
evolution. The AKC Premier classes,
USDAA Masters Challenge classes, and
UKI international classes are presenting us with a variety of challenges that
are new for many handlers, including
difficult weave pole entrances.
We have some wonderful resources
to use to achieve a better weave pole
performance: books, DVDs, and online
classes are all available. You could also
consider asking your local instructor
to offer a three- or four-week weave
pole focus workshop, as sometimes
we don't get enough weave pole challenges in our regular training classes.
We offer these workshops at ACE Dog
Sports and can accommodate all levels of weave learning at once.
I mention these other resources because this article is not going to focus
on the step-by-step training of weave
poles. It is more of a "getting there
from here" article written for handlers
who have gotten along pretty well
with the weave pole training they
have done this far but can't quite cut
the mustard for the weave pole chal-
lenges presented in the more difficult
classes. I will explain how I approach
the training and handling of difficult
weave pole entries with a few other
tips tossed in for good pole measure!
I look at training and handling as two
separate jobs that I have. These jobs
could not be more distinct than they
are when it comes to the weave poles.
I approach training sessions in one
way and handling in another way.
When I am competing, I am relying on
a combination of what I teach in training and the constant handling that I
Training Weave Poles
Training is approached with the frame
of mind that the dog is on his own
to perform the weave poles; I help
(handle) as little as possible in these
sessions. You could take that idea pretty
far, trying silly things like sitting in a
chair or lying on the ground and while
you attempt to send the dog to the
poles and recall him through the poles.
I build up the dog's skills by increasing
difficulty at each dog's learning rate.
The goal is that my dog's independent
weaving skills are good enough that
he will not fail even when I cannot be
in the desired position to handle an
entry. This training is extensive and
requires a maintenance program that
varies from dog to dog.
I look at weave pole training as three
separate skills: entries, exits, and rhythm.
I use planted reinforcement when I
teach all of these skills, so control over
toys and food has to be in place. If it's
not, use a treat-dispensing machine.
My Advanced Training Checklist
* Send to weaves: "Around the clock"
work from up to 50 feet, adding distance to each angle when the dog is
proficient (see sidebar).
* Run with: Including passing the dog
and being as far ahead as possible,
converging into the dog, and peeling off the dog while he is weaving.
* Recall: Leaving the dog at one end of
the poles (vary the distance) and recall
him through the poles from a position
20 to 30 feet past the last pole.
* Various side changes before and
after the weaves: Include front
crosses, rear crosses, and blind crosses.
I approach training sessions in one way and handling in another way. When I am competing, I am relying
on a combination of what I teach in training and the constant handling that I am developing.
August 19 | Clean Run
Clean Run - August 2019
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run - August 2019
Clean Run - August 2019 - Cover1
Clean Run - August 2019 - Cover2
Clean Run - August 2019 - Contents
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Clean Run - August 2019 - Cover3
Clean Run - August 2019 - Cover4