Friday, January 30, 2015

Learning To Weave

One of my goals for this winter was to teach Rundle to do the weave poles. If you have the room, they are a perfect activity to teach indoors, and since I have made my basement livingroom into a training room, we have been using that nice space to learn the weaves. I already had decided to use the 2X2 method to teach Rundle. There are a few different methods to teach the weaves and each have their own strengths and weakness but I like 2x2s for the reason that they really break down the behavior and they emphasis weave entrances.  I am using a modified version of Susan Garrett's method that I find is working well for us.  Here is a link to the method I am using:

So far the weaves are going well and Rundle is really starting to understand the whole behaviour. We have been working on the weaves for about 3 or 4 weeks now and he can do 6 poles with very few errors. He rarely misses an entrance and we work on challenging entrances every training session. Where his mistakes happen are usually towards the end, and right now I am chalking that up to him still working to find his rhythm in the poles. If he enters smoothly, he usually finishes them accurately. He will get there - he is a big dog and really needs to use to learn his body to get going through.  This past week we have been working on adding more speed to the poles, now that he is understanding the mechanics of going through them. I have been running with him more and recalling him through the poles more - just to build some excitement and speed. Once he is finding a nice rhythm and weaving the 6 poles with confidence and speed, I will add another set of 6. Hopefully by the end of winter he will be weaving a full set of 12 poles happily and accurately.  

Here is a video I took last week. At the time of the video, Rundle had been doing 6 poles for just 2 days. He has improved a lot even since I took this video. He is also very excited when it is weave training time. For the last couple weeks, we have been training the weaves right before supper time.  Today as I was getting Rundle's supper ready, he kept running to the gate at the top of the basement stairs and looking down into the training room. He wasn't going to let me forget that we needed to practice :) So cute!

Just as an aside, weave poles are quite hard on a dog's body, especially a young dog that is still growing. I waited this long to teach the weaves for that reason. I am quite certain that Rundle's growth plates are now closed as he has not grown for quite some time now (he is almost 2). Even so, our sessions are quick and short. I count out about 6 cookies and when they are gone, the session is over. 

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