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Old 12-04-2010, 11:39 PM   #1
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Default Advice on starting weave poles

Kaia attempted weave poles for the first time today in agility class. They had the clip on wires and we were told to walk them through it(Hold leash and walk next to them) Kaia was really scared and kept walking over the wires. I finally got her through it without getting out of place but I feel like I dragged her most of the way. I do not think she understood or enjoyed the weaves at all. Our teacher gave some advice to set up 2 poles and just get her used to going through those then slowly add on more poles. Once I add more than 2 poles how should I teach her to weave?Lead her through it again?Any advice agility experts?

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Old 12-04-2010, 11:55 PM   #2
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I've never trained for agility, but I did read of another method. Set up the poles, say three pairs. Walk your dog between the poles (three on the left of you, three on the right). Always start from the correct shoulder- so if you want the right shoulder to pass the first pole, bring your dog from the right so she habituates to coming through the poles with her right shoulder passing first. When she is comfortable with this you start moving the poles in.
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Old 12-04-2010, 11:58 PM   #3
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Oh I forgot to add that!Yes we did do that in class about 2-3 times about a week ago.

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Old 12-05-2010, 02:48 AM   #4
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Better is to teach 12 poles right from the get-go. Channel weaves are nice because you move them way out so the dog is simply running a straight line through at first, no actual weaving involved. With guides on, you slowly move the poles in as the dog's speed increases. Move the guides up, when they have that distance at a good clip--move the guides back down and the poles in a bit... rinse and repeat until they are closed.

Teaching it this way the dog learns to complete however many poles they are presented with as a whole obstacle and it fosters quicker independance. Once they enter--it's to the end, period.
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Old 12-05-2010, 09:59 AM   #5
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Maybe I should add this to. We are in agility foundations class since Kaia is still a 7 month old puppy. Is it still ok to do that or is she to young to do weaving?That does make sense though. I do not own a weave pole set I was just going to set up somekind of sticks but it sounds like its something I should buy. I saw some weaves and clip on wires at afforableagility.com but its still expensive. For a practice 6 weave set its $110 and for clip on wires about $70. Do you know another place that sells them cheaper? Could I make the agility equitment or is it more complicated than it looks?

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Old 12-05-2010, 12:24 PM   #6
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If you can work with sticks in the ground outside than you can use the same exact concept. I made a set of 12 weave poles for less than $15 using PVC piping and spikes that I use in the warmer months. To "channel" them I put them the proper distances apart, and than staggered them leaving room for my dog. Gradually I put the poles back into allignment. It's not as easy as a set of channels, but it works on the same concept.

Oh, and the dog's entrance is to the right of the first pole-- that means their LEFT shoulder is to the pole. When training do not always lead your dog from the same side... with the guides still in place work many angles and sides. You will not always have your dog on your left, nor will the line be straight. You may be coming from the right or left at varying degrees. You will be able to tell your dog has it when the speed comes back up and stays there.
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Old 12-05-2010, 07:37 PM   #7
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Your dog is WAY too young to be weaving. Her growth plates aren't closed. It's felt that weaving too young can cause huge, dangerous spine issues down the road that are extremely dibilitating and painful.

My advice...don't move faster than your trainer says you should. While there are a few ways to train weaves, there are a million ways to train them wrong. I'm blunt, so I will tell you Maura's way is a way to train them wrong. It will leave you with some serious issues you'll have to reatrain if you want to do competition.

So, don't do weaves for now. You CAN get your dog used to going through the two poles like your trainer suggested to make her more comfortable with the poles. And you CAN learn about the different methods.

Acceptable methods include channels, Weave-a-matics, 2 by 2s, gates. You can look on youtube for those methods, but don't try them yourself Let your trainer teach you how to do them, or you can make huge mistakes. Every detail counts...when you click. how you hold your hand, where your shoulders are, where your feet are, what speed you are going, etc.

And, yes Draco is 100 percent right. The dog enters the first pole with that pole on his LEFT shoulder. This is VERY, VERY important. Also it's VERY important to work both onside and offside poles.

I trained Aslan and Asher with channels weaves with guides put on them after I closed them up. Asher learned in three weeks, BUT he was my fourth dog to train poles on. I think the average time is about two months, but some teams can take up to a year.

So for now...no poles except for what your trainer allows. But you can learn about poles.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:53 AM   #8
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Well, thank you for pointing out my error. As I said, I haven't done agility but have wanted to so (with no one out here in the sticks that trains) I have done reading research. If you know of a really good book, please post it.

If this puppy is a border collie, he is methodical, so once he is trained to do something, that is the way he will do it. Train for what you want, not "sort of".
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:33 AM   #9
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Ashenpaw was trained using channels and guides and it took us about 2 months to get them closed and solid enough to consider competing. But he's an older dog, aged 5 years when I started that and my first dog through agility. I'm guessing that once I start Ion when he's older I'll be able to work him faster.

All of this was done through the guidance of my instructor and we were able to get a Q on our first weekend out there. So the right methods go a long way! Here's a video complied of all four runs that first weekend including the good and not so good, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suca8s46Vrk. Trying to retrain errors is a pain in the rear for both yourself and the poor confused dog. Yes, that is a statement from personal experience.
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Old 12-06-2010, 02:26 AM   #10
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Maura is right on the nail when she/he says "Train for what you want, not sort of."

There are videos on weave pole training at cleanrun.com. I've only seen Susan Garret's 2 by 2 video as I already knew how to train all the other methods. The 2 X 2 method is great if you are a really, really strong clicker trainer. If not, opt for another method.
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