Becca and I have been agility traing for about eighteen months. We are competing in CPE level one. Things have been fabulous except for one thing, weaves. We started on channel weaves. She made progress, but once the gap is gone she just runs down the line. Our current trainer switched her to xpens, she has to follow the path. If the xpens are on, Becca weaves, if off she blows down the line. Each method has been tried for months, so it's not a matter of not enough time. Now our trainer wants to try 2x2s. She is working well with the first set.

Our trainer doesn't like any hand signals or the dog looking up during the weaves. I tried telling her "in" "out" with a wave today. It worked, you could almost see a lightbulb going off over her head.

So now I'm not sure what to go with. Thoughts?

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I trained my boy with 2x2s as he didn't understand channels or weave o matics. While the 2x2s worked well at home and in class I found that he needed some extra help at trial to let him know that he had to weave. I didn't use a voice command or hand signals, but body motion. Basically walking in the weave motion beside he poles. I faded that as the light bulb started to burn brighter for him. He has pretty good poles now without any body motion coaching.

I tend to agree with your trainer.  You want the dog to see the weave poles as one obstacle, with a defined entrance, not as a series of different moves that require handler direction.   She should be focused straight ahead, not checking in with you.

The nice thing with 2x2's is it really teaches the dog to find his own entrance.   We never trialed, but Jack would nail the weaves from any angle in class.   I think the key is to practice at home, about 3 to 5 minutes a day with a high-value toy and quit while she's still excited so she wants more.  You really need to toss that toy to get her running out past the end of the poles;  if they learn to slow down in the middle, they can sort of get confused and fall out of them.   

Weave poles, done correctly, are a muscle memory thing.  That takes lots of repetitions for very short sessions so she doesn't burn out.  

Becca is not toy motivated. I've tried to teach her to tug, she gets offended and will get as far as possible away from it. She will play ball, but not during 'homework'. I'm throwing Charlie bear treats for the 2x2s. They have just enough weight to get some distance. I tried a treat ball that velcros the treat inside that someone suggested. In her mind toys have no place in agility.

Becca will tease to go do her 'homework'. We practice 10 minutes or so two or three times a day. The third time today she went through her weaves with a verbal in, out no hand signal, no looking. I'll keep going with the 2x2s, but may also keep trying with in,out.


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