Friday, February 25, 2011

Running At Your Dog - While He's Weaving - A TRICK!

This is a BLAST to teach your dog.  He will need to know how to weave 6 & 12 weave poles, with you in different positions.  The best way is to work yourself, the handler, around the clock, you can be standing still and your dog is weaving.  You can use a toy or food container as a target. 

What’s great about this trick is your dog has to focus and think about his job!  It helps him really understand independent weave pole performance.  It prevents the handler from doing the ‘Weave Walk’!  You know that stride that is different in the weaves than anywhere else on the course.  Don’t believe me?  Watch your videos! 

Will you ever use it on course, not likely!  So, what’s the point? After teaching this trick you will be confident your dog understands his job.  It’s a challenge.  It’s something unique and different. It’s fun!  And because you CAN!!!!!

So, how to do you teach it?

I’m going to assume your dog has strong weaving skills.  If not, you’ll want to work on improving overall performance, BEFORE attempting this.  Meaning, if you’re using wires to work around the clock, you are not ready to work this trick.  The last thing you want to do is to demotivate your dogs weave pole performance.  The purpose of this trick is to build confidence, drive and desire!

You’ll need a dog, a set (or two) of six weave poles, a toy, or treat sock of some kind to use as a lure/target.  I didn’t use a clicker while working this trick.  The dog already knows the behavior; I’m just changing handler position. 

Leave dog at one end of the poles and walk to the far end of the other.  Turn, face the dog and drop the toy.  Release them to weave.  Place with the dog and the toy when he gets to the end.  Repeat this a couple times, moving off to one side or the other of the poles.  You are no longer directly in front of them, but the toy is still about 10’ from the end of the poles, as a target and reward.

This next part is probably the most difficult.  You need to be PATIENT.  Leave the dog at one end; take up your position at the other end of the weaves, maybe 2’ off to the side.
Drop or toss the toy 10’ past the last pole.  Release your dog and as he enters the poles, lift up one foot.  That’s it!  Just lift it.  This is generally enough to cause the dog to wonder if they are right.  If they finish the poles, HUGE PARTY!!  If not, start again. 

You are NOT moving forward at first! You are just picking a foot up.  If the dog is having problems, make your foot movement even less.  HUGE PARTY for successes!! 

SLOWLY – I can not stress this enough – take a step.  For Seeker, this was the most difficult part.  Once he figure out he could weave taking one step toward him, it was a breeze!  Take the necessary time on this part, do not rush!  MAJOR PARTY for successes!! 

DO NOT scold for incorrect weave pole performance.  If you do, you’re not getting the point of this ‘trick’.  You can NOT build confidence and have fun if the dog needs to be concerned with doing something right.  This is what causes all our performance issues to begin with.  Just have FUN! 

Once you have one foot, you’ll add a step, then two, etc.  Soon you’ll be able to walk toward him while he’s weaving for his target/toy reward.  Work up to a slow jog, then a full run.  It’s really a BLAST!!!

Have fun with this!

After all…’s ONLY A TRICK!! 

For other Weave Challenges-

1 comment:

  1. I believe there was popcorn harmed in the making of this film!! (this is still one of my favorite movies of yours!!)

    This will be fun to work on this spring when I can get the poles back out!!!