Weave poles are one of the only obstacles you find in dog agility that have no element to them that uses natural instincts of the dog. They have to be taught and practiced until they become second nature to your dog, muscle and mind memory. We would like to share with you some tips for making your dog’s weave performance speedy and accurate.
- Don’t drill your dog; be vigilant for that moment when your dog is having sequence of correct answers and stop on that positive note. As with any obstacle, short sessions at different obstacles keeps your dog’s mind fresh and gives them some think time. For example: do a few sets of correct weaves then move on to some jumps. You can come back and do a few more sets of weaves and then move to another game. Don’t get greedy, when your dog is performing correctly it’s time to stop.
- Train one step a session Weave poles are not mastered in one session, in fact, your dog may only be able to get one part of the lesson correct in a day. Only ask your dog for improvements if they are having a difficult time and always go back to a point in your training where your dog can give a correct answer when they seem confused. Accurate, fast weaves often take weeks of five minute sessions to train. They also take lots of yummy treats, fun toys, and puppy parties.
- Give it up treat your dog like it’s their last meal with you, and make sure you give them only the best rewards. Keep them small so your dog doesn’t fill up before you finish a lesson. This is also why they need to be tasty, smelly treats.
- Keep your criteria clear Don’t reward less than perfect weaves once your dog has picked up the concept. Rewarding poorly performed weaves is encouraging a problem. Simply ask for another try and have a puppy party with jackpot rewards when they understand and comply.
- Make fast festive Once your dog learns to weave, reward enthusiastically for improvements such as in speed or difficult entries. Praise, play or treat for any correct weaves, but throw a treat fest, puppy party for a fast run. Give your dog a reason to try harder.
With patience and practice, you and your dog can succeed on the weave poles. What method you use doesn’t matter as much as the way you approach the training itself – positively and carefully!