Image credit: Debbie Fuller – Weaving at one of our Training Camps. 🙂

WeaveProofs Part 1

As with everything, I think its best to focus on one or two skills that need improving. So today, I’m going to give you some weave-proofing ideas —50 in fact— and next week I’ll give you another 50! WooHoo!

  1. Recall. I usually start with six poles – can you recall the dog through the poles? Part way and then the whole way?
  2. Increase to a set of 12 as the dog’s understanding grows. No treat/tug, kiss or cuddle unless all the poles are performed.
  3. Send away. Standing behind the weaves, I send the dog through them to a dead toy (again starting with six poles and increasing the number). It helps to have a non-reward marker or helper who can put their foot on the toy if the dog pops out of the weaves before finishing the set. Alternatively, if the dog will nose touch a target for food, I place the target at the end of the weaves but not every time.
  4. The Ultimate Reward or bowl of Chappie. My dogs would kill for a bowl of Chappie. I put a bowl of Chappie at the end of the weaves. If they perform every pole, there is your dog’s reward.  Miss one and the bowl with the delights of tinned food is removed. I do it on both sides running as well as a send away. Again, a non-reward marker or helpful friend can remove the bowl if the dog misses a pole. Works for my poodles every time!
  5. Toy Litter. Can the dog still concentrate on the weaves, when there are toys littered either side of the poles? I usually start with one or two toys on just one side and then up the ante to a box load strewn on both sides.  I reward with a tug game with a toy from my hand. Also you can litter the poles with food or whatever else the dog finds distracting?
  6. Little poodle Twizzle finds the course markers distracting, so that’s what he uses when he plays this game. Try everything to distract your dog, don’t make the game easy and then you will have no problem when you get to the competition ring.
  7. Overtaking.  Can the dog continue weaving if you run really fast and overtake him? 
  8. How about if you throw a toy and it zooms pass him to the end?
  9. Multi dog weaving. Will your dog stay in the weaves and finish them while your other dog comes weaving from behind. Remember both dogs need a reward for this feat.
  10. Stalling – Can the dog continue weaving if you stall or stop running while he is weaving? If yes try run, stop, run, and stop – be deliberately difficult!
  11. Noise. Can your dog continue weaving if you shout encouragement? 
  12. Can he continue weaving if you keep shtum? Silence can really affect some dogs weave pole performance.
  13. Butterfingers. Can the dog continue weaving if you drop a toy?
  14. Can the dog continue weaving if you drop food whilst he is weaving?
  15. Hat check. Put a wing half way down the weaves. Let your dog weave past the wing.
  16. Now wearing a hat, run down one side of the weaves and pop your hat on the wing on the way down. If successful, turn around at the end and run back along the same side and put the hat back on while you go. Place the wing further away. The further away from the weaves that you place the wing the faster you will have to run and the harder it will be.
  17. Lin’s Game. My friend Lin had a full set of weaves in her garden. If she was weeding, she would shout to her dog “Find the weaves.” If she went out to empty the bins, she would shout, “Find the weaves!”  If sweeping the path, she would shout, “Find the weaves.” Other dogs, play hunt the biscuit, but Lin’s dog hunted the weaves and had fabulous entries and always completed the line.  It was the dog’s favourite command and he really listened out for it
  18. Squares, Circles and Triangles. If you have more than one set of weaves, this is a great game.  Make a square, circle or triangle with the weaves. For example, a square might have six poles on one side, three on another, nine on another and one side with twelve. If you want to get fancy you can have a hurdle on each corner. With you inside the square, send your dog through the weaves. 
  19. Try it in the other direction too. Run close to the poles but also try standing in the middle of the square. You get good entry practice at awkward angles as well as accustoming your dog to different numbers of poles.
  20. The Lightning Bolt. Instead of a straight line, arrange the weaves in a zigzag. The zigzag can either be in pieces of weave bases with gaps or all in one line depending on how hard you want to make the game. You use to see this at some shows (yes I am that old). It is a little different and makes you and the dog think.
  21. Longest weaves. Just a bit of fun and you never know… your dog could be a candidate for The Guinness Book of Records. Make as long a line of weaves as you can and see if your dog will keep weaving to the very end. Many a time have we had a go at the 60 weave challenge – remember it’s always the last poles they struggle with!
  22. Tunnel Suckers. Put a tunnel at the end of the weaves just straight and close enough to be appealing.  Does your dog get sucked out of the poles?
  23. Put a tunnel at the beginning of the weaves. Does your dog get speed out of the tunnel and decel nicely to the poles? Now move the tunnel closer and closer and really test those poles.
  24. How about a cloth tunnel into the poles? The dog really has minimal visibility now.
  25. Wall to weaves is similar and the shorter the distance the harder it is, put your wall, well, spread and more on your weave entry!
  26. Is your dog motion-sensitive – well sort it, add all the motion, do it all in training, run, stop, restrain recall and add AROUSAL at every stage, we really want to see what motion they can cope with and then push it that little bit further. If you own a herding breed this can be key!
  27. Obstacle entries. One of the most difficult entries is from the A-frame. I see it missed so often when I watch courses with this sequence so I try and proof it before I meet it in the ring particularly you speedy lasses with running contacts.
  28. Dogwalk or seesaw to weaves at speed, don’t be a baby and add some tough old entries in too.
  29. Relay Races. Always fun in a class or with a training buddy. Loser buys a round at the pub. Now that is pressure!
  30. Place a dead toy at the end, make sure it is visible and it is a proof not a lure, do you know the difference? If not ask your trainer!
  31. Dead toys on either side (vary proximity to poles) again use something very visible.
  32. Can your dog weave with thrown toys (through poles) as they weave? Reef finds a tennis ball very difficult and will go into eye stalk if given half a chance, work through this proof!
  33. How about the handler standing still the whole time dog is weaving once they are cued – remember the weaves cue the behaviour so motion is less relevant once the dog is in the poles.
  34. Lazy ass weaving (from the greatest Susie G – see the awesome 2×2 dvd)  – the handler sits in chair, on the floor or even lies down and sends the dog to weave independently.
  35. Handler sprinting away once your dog finds the entry, as my good friend Jan Windsor says, ‘if you can’t sprint get someone else to do that bit for you.’
  36. Handler sprinting away in another direction once dog finds entry – go across and not to the end of the poles.
  37. Handler send and sprint away before dog has entered so the dog has to master the entry in arousal, if you want to up it that little bit more add the restrained recall into the equation.
  38. Handle end of weaves as a snake line (run across face of weaves) give yourself a head start recall if you need to.
  39. Handle end of weaves as a snake line (run across face of weaves) and make it EXTREME! So really push across the face making it difficult.
  40. Handler running alongside dog and stop DEAD still half way and calls the dogs name, now this is tough!
  41. Handler stopping halfway and doing 5 star jumps while dog weaves and then rewards as usual.
  42. Say your dogs favourite activity whilst your dog is weaving, swimming, find it, cats, you name it! Reef finds cats pretty tough! If your dog completes, party on!
  43. Handler adding a front cross at the exit. This needs to change position a lot!
  44. Handler adding an early front cross at exit – so execute the front cross at pole8 or 9 and complete before the dog comes out.
  45. Handler adding front cross at entry
  46. Handler adding a late front cross at entry – okay we can’t all be perfect, let’s prep for that, make it tough for them!
  47. Handler adding a rear cross at the entry with varying levels of extremity!
  48. Other equipment placed very close to poles on sides – does your dog suck the equipment?
  49. One jump placed below minimum distance from the exit – I don’t know why but this got Tiki so many times when I placed the jump below the minimum distance and close to the exit, and Maisie her sister too. A toughie…
  50. Tunnel wrapped around end of the poles on the exit think EXTREME

Check back next week for more tips! Visit our website for more info on ways we can help: www.devondogs.co.uk or email contact@devondogs.co.uk if you have any questions.

With thanks to Mary Ann Nester for her brilliant ideas. 🙂

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