Wally's First Exposure To Weave Polls | Exploits of an Amateur Dog Trainer: Blog Edition

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Wally's First Exposure To Weave Polls

Wally got his first taste of what an agility dog has to do. Of course, I would start with the hardest obstacle on the course (unknowingly, I swear!)

And, needless to say, Wally was less-than-pleased about seeing these "big white things" moving around while I was putting them together. I got some PVC poles that can angle and connect/disconnect easily to put in how many poles you want.

Of course, I'm not going to make it super easy at first, but not overly hard. And I got my clicker and some top-end treats (leftover fish sticks and fries in this case) at the ready. I started with four poles to try to show him what the weave was and how to move through the poles. They aren't angled at this point and we're going slow.

I'm making sure he's entering properly, which was a big part of the session today. Also emphasized was that he had to go between every pole.

After he started to get the idea. I decided to move back down to two poles, which would take just one weave to go through.

At this stage, I'm going to start with the shaping of it eventually, but for now, I just want him to get comfortable going through the poles and getting any apprehension of them out of his system. Sometimes I bump the supports with my feet (learning process for me too), and sometimes that startles him, but I have him just get over it. I don't accept any hesitation between the poles, he has to just go and forget about it.

So definitely a work in progress, but that was expected. Overall, he did pretty well for his first exposure and seems to have the idea of how to do a weave motion. I know he cares about the position of things relative to him, and I hope I can leverage that. Hopefully, the position of the pole can be information to him that he can read on the fly to guide him through the movement.

I also have some ideas to try teaching him the muscle memory of the motion (something else I know about him is that I have to show him his body can do what I ask him to do - it was how I got him to FINALLY flip over on his back and go up and down stairs some years back). This should also help him feel more positive about it if I can teach it as a game/during our walks outside of the poles.