Why are there so many methods to teach your dog to weave?
Everyone learns differently! The same is true of our dogs. Some dogs are motivated by lettuce, others only really get excited by liver bits (yes, you can condition them to enjoy a wider variety, but sometimes working with your dogs natural preferences works out best!) So some dogs do fabulously learning to weave in 2×2’s, and others do better in channels, or slanting weave poles. Or maybe it’s the trainer who understands one better than the other, and so the dog learns more quickly and thoroughly using one method over the other. So long as your end result is the same – wicked fast, happy weaves – the methodology for getting there doesn’t matter quite so much.
If a particular style of weaving just isn’t working for you and your dog after you’ve given it a good try, ask your trainer if you can try another method. If you use stick in the ground weaves, it’s easy to change between methods! Just change the layout of your weaves and you’re good to go.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading on various boards and agility groups about striping poles (on weaves and jump bars) vs. not striping them, and what the disadvantages are to each. One of the concerns is that sometimes tape can peel (on weave poles) and cut a dog’s eye if the edge is sharp. Or it might catch and pull your dog’s hair. So while tape has been used for decades, and can be occasionally checked for safety, another option out there is painting poles. A lot of work, but if you want to do it….
Another issue, however, is simply whether to stripe or not! This may come as a surprise to many involved in agility competing, but you may encounter poles that are not striped. Or they may be striped up too high, out of your dog’s line of sight. Will it throw your dog off? It’s up for debate! One reader said that his dog ran by the weaves 3 times before finally ‘finding’ them, because at home he only practices with striped poles. Others disagree, saying the dog’s don’t pay any attention to the stripes, and the dog was probably missing them for other reasons.
I did some research to see what the different rules were considering striping. I found inconsistencies. Here’s what I found (correct me if I’m wrong)…
Weave Poles:AKC required (10″ and 20″ from the ground). CPE recommended. USDAA & NADAC no mention. Jump Bars: AKC no mention. CPE required. NADAC no mention.
My suggestion for this dilemna?…Use both! Stripe your weave poles sort of low and practice them this way. Then sometimes turn them upside down so that there is no striping at your dog’s eye level. For your jumps, stripe one bar but leave the other unstriped. Alternate them from time to time. Then your dog will be prepared for either!
In this training video on YouTube, notice they have two sets. One is striped, one is not.
I’m interested in any opinions out there!
Note on the Video: Like the Channel Weaves? It’s personally my favorite method. We have both a competition set or a practice one available.
Someone recently asked me a question, about whether there was any reason to use wire guides along with their VersaWeaves.For those who don’t know about them, the VersaWeaves are a cross between channel weaves and 2 x 2’s, allowing for both training methods (which are similar in concept).They also are a full-fledged competition set when all the poles are in a straight line.
Now, the channel method is, in my opinion, the best method for training dogs the weave poles.When it is slowly and methodically done, the wires aren’t necessary.However, it’s easy to rush the process, and you’ll discover this later on.You might have a dog who is doing a good job weaving with the poles in a straight line, and you think all is well. But alas, suddenly he begins to miss a pole here and there.You are surprised. What happened?This is where the wires can come in handy.Instead of going backward in the channel method, and pulling the poles apart again, I personally think it is more beneficial to introduce the wires at this point.Just my opinion. It seemed to work well for me.
Wow, we had a great response to our first Friday Fusion Contest! It was hard to wait the weekend, but we have a winner. Congratulations to Emily Heitz, who was the 10th person who answered correctly! She won a free practice weave pole set of her choice. (Sorry, so many people participated in this first contest that I can’t unload all the comments for viewing this time. I have to check with my web programmer, but I think it would fill too many pages!)
Friday’s Fusion Question:
In what is known as the“Weave Pole Challenge”, how many weave poles does a dog have to do?
Don’t forget to check back again this coming Friday for another contest to win another prize! Every contest will be different (including its method of winning) so there will be chances for everyone to win.
Meanwhile, visit and comment often! There will be new posts almost every day. And ever once in awhile we’ll even have a surprise contest in the middle of the week!