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Rex's 2x2 Weave Pole Training


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Well, it's not "12 poles in 12 days" because we've taken time off here and there to work/trial sheep, and stuff, but I'm still really impressed with the 2x2 method and how quickly Rex is up and weaving!

 

He's had maybe 10 sessions of 5-8 minutes a piece, and he's weaving six poles on a rigid base and making entries that poor Wick could not hope to make. He really seems to get "find the entry first, then go fast". At first, I was a little concerned that he was a bit slow to get going in the poles, but now that he has a better understanding of weaving, speed is NOT going to be a problem. :rolleyes: It's hard to believe that this time last year, he was getting ready to run in the USBCHA Nursery Finals in Klamath. My little sheepdog has adjusted very well to the pet/sporting life!

 

Rex's Weaving Video - 6 poles

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Kristi,

 

Thanks for sharing the vids. Rex looks great!!! I have just started Belle "again" in agility and have been looking into this method. After watching your videos, I am going to give it a try. I have been struggling with BJ for a long time to get his weaves solid and this method seems to work a whole lot better. I guess I can even "reteach" BJ his weaves with this method.

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I have re-trained Wick with this method, and I've definitely seen improvement, but I don't think she will ever be as good a weaver as if I had trained her properly in the first place (she has been competing for almost 9 years now). She is fast in the poles, but entries have plagued us throughout our career. What I liked about training Rex using this method is that I got to try training a behaviour through pure shaping, which I've never done before. Rex had no shaping foundation when he came home in December, being that he was trained to be a sheep dog :D but what he did have was excellent body awareness and a desire to work with his person.

 

Here's the video journal that I'm keeping to chronicle his progress. And yes, that floofy tail does come down when he's working sheep ... but the rest of the time he flies it HIGH! :rolleyes:

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Update - Rex was introduced to all 12 poles today. His footwork is kind of all over the place, but I'm not worried yet. After all, he's done, like, 10 sets of 12 in his whole life - I'm sure he'll find a stepping technique that will work for him soon.

 

Rex weaves 12 poles

Now it's a matter of proofing through adding distractions, and asking him for speed. I really need to work on getting him to engage with a toy, as I think that might increase his speed even more. Still, I'm thrilled with how "The Puppy" is weaving already. Oh, and he's the first dog that I've trained to weave who has a tail (Bear and Wick were/are bob-tails) and you can really see how they use their tails when they're in the poles. Yeah, small things amuse me. :rolleyes:

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That's one thing I don't like about this method - it doesn't teach footwork. Sure some dogs figure it out, but many I see don't. I'm curious to hear how Rex fares with more experience.

 

I love how the WAM teaches footwork and speed from the beginning. I like how the 2x2 teaches entries. Trying to figure out how to combine the two. ;-)

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Nice! I really want to try this method on my next dog. I've used channels with mine and they have a pretty good understanding of entries and have consistent footwork. I do like how the WAM and Channels teach the footwork...my dogs, however, relied on that first pole being semi off-set when they started out on WAMs. Once I switched to channels they got it instantly.

 

Great job :rolleyes:

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That's one thing I don't like about this method - it doesn't teach footwork. Sure some dogs figure it out, but many I see don't. I'm curious to hear how Rex fares with more experience.

 

My pup was trained with pure 2x2 and she had a difficult time figuring out her footwork. It's still not consistent. I'm thinking the answer is progressing through the 2x2 method and then patterning the dog on slightly open WAMs or Channels. To a 2x2 trained dog, I think the open WAMs or Channels would just look like another weaving challenge-- and the footwork they encourage would hopefully stick.

 

Fe during 2x2 training-- just couldn't part with those entries or I'd consider going with pure channels/WAMs.

 

 

And a more recent one of her in slightly open 2x2s, trying to encourage better footwork.

 

 

Rex looks GREAT!

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...I'm thinking the answer is progressing through the 2x2 method and then patterning the dog on slightly open WAMs or Channels.

The 2x2 DVD describes something kinda similar, where you slightly offset the bases so that the dog has a path through which they can swim. I'm gonna give Rex a few more sessions (after all, he's only seen 12 poles in one session!) to find his footwork, and if I need to open the bases a bit, then I will.

 

I LOVE how you bounce the frisbee on the ground. What a cool way to reward with a disc! And her teeter is looking great! Our teeter is arriving on Wednesday, and I can't wait to see how he does with that. :rolleyes:

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The 2x2 DVD describes something kinda similar, where you slightly offset the bases so that the dog has a path through which they can swim. I'm gonna give Rex a few more sessions (after all, he's only seen 12 poles in one session!) to find his footwork, and if I need to open the bases a bit, then I will.

 

I LOVE how you bounce the frisbee on the ground. What a cool way to reward with a disc! And her teeter is looking great! Our teeter is arriving on Wednesday, and I can't wait to see how he does with that. :rolleyes:

 

 

The second vid I posted is my 12 2x2s dutifully opened up as SG describes to help with footwork in the DVD! It'll be interesting to see what Rex's feet do!

 

It's impossible to not look totally ridiculous rolling the frisbee like that, but you get the dog driving down instead of up to catch it... and it's a GREAT way to get a dog into frisbee if they aren't interested! Have fun with the teeter!

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For those who have taught multiple methods over the years/dogs... do you think working WAM's first to teach footwork and speed and THEN working entries with 2x2's would be a good combination of methods?

 

Okay, I've only trained three dogs to weave... but I thought of this too and decided against trying it. The best part about the 2x2s (in my opinion) is that you can expect a correct entry (even from the very hardest angles) every time from day one. You'd have to kind of manage the dog's entries until you were ready to start the 2x2s. I like the way the 2x2s teach the concept of weaving-- that's the part I don't want to lose. The entire process from one set of 2x2s to 12 poles goes sooo quickly that I don't think it will hurt the patterning of the dog's footwork or speed... it's so few reps altogether. As soon as the dog gets to 12 poles, you could switch to the slightly open 2x2s/WAMs/channels (and keep that setup for many, many more reps than you needed to get to 12 poles) to make it easier for the dog to choose to weave faster and with cleaner footwork. All theoretical, of course... just throwing those ideas out there!

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WAM's are open enough at the beginning that entries aren't a problem though. And entries other than straight-on aren't worked until the dog has footwork and speed downpat. Thinking I might try it - WAM's first then maybe 2x2's.

 

As many 2x2 dogs with bad footwork that I've seen makes me think it DOES hurt the footwork.

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SG says in the DVD if you are going to blend methods, she highly recommends that you start with 2x2s and then once you've got them weaving, switch to the other method. I know that re-training Wick was a LOT harder than starting the boys, because she knew what poles were, and didn't see why she should learn to interact with them in a new way (that is, she was trying to weave instead of just navigate through a set of gates a couple of feet apart.. No, Wicky, you can't single stride when it's 48" spacing - good try though). Of course, re-training is always harder than training it right from the start, so grain of salt there.

 

BTW, Rex was single-striding six poles, and he HAD done something like 5 consecutive days of training, so I've given him a couple of days off to rest and think about things. Will let you know how the striding goes! Oh, and we're training on 24" spacing, in case that makes any difference to anyone.

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Well, you should borrow a copy and watch it. It's actually quite entertaining. Especially if you've had a glass or two. :rolleyes:

 

One of the points emphasized at the beginning, and again as you progress through the chapters, is that the dog needs to have really good body awareness, especially rear-end awareness. Perhaps people are glossing over this bit, and that's why you're seeing some sketchy footwork? Personally, I don't care if my dogs hop or single-stride, so long as they pick one that works for them, and that keeps them in the poles. It looks like Rex will be a single-strider, but I certainly won't be upset if he settles on hopping.

 

I hope Lou (yes, LOU!) chooses hopping, because I am already SQUEALING over the idea of how cute he would look bouncing through the poles!

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Disc Two of the DVD is hilarious. I nearly peed my pants when Susan proofed the weaves by falling on purpose.

 

As for blending methods, I absolutely would not start with anything other than the 2x2's. The whole purpose behind the 2x2 program is to get the dog thinking about what they are doing and breaking the weaving process down into something they easily understand. It produces a thinking dog who can find their entries from any angle.

 

The alternative, in my experience, is that using the channel or weave-o-matic method produces a dog that charges blindly forward as he's been taught to do -- The poles are just something that gets in the way. Often times these dogs don't have a true understanding of the task at hand, which is why missed entries can be so problematic.

 

I think the best thing would be to go through the 2x2 program and if you aren't happy with the footwork, try one of the other methods.

 

Secret is still hopping through the 24" poles. I've opened up my 2x2's into a channel, but I only have three sets (six poles) and I don't think that's enough to develop a pattern. She's not double-stepping, so I'm okay if she decides she wants to be a hopper -- But I also think a lot could change with more time and experience. One of these days I might set up my stick-in-the-ground poles with my 22" spacer to see what she does. My big dog, Luke, will always swim through those, mostly because he can push them out of the way so easily.

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  • 3 weeks later...

An update - Rex is weaving 12 poles quite nicely. We've tried the 20" spacing and after a little bit of face-squishing, he figured it out and is fine on those too. I think we'll trial mostly on 24" spaced poles, but thought it was important to try the smaller spacing just to see if he truly understands to weave through poles, regardless of colour, spacing, etc.

 

He's also learned the teeter, which was shaped from hopping on a lowered, propped up board to running close to the end and riding it down. I think he'll have something like a quick release contact behaviour but if that breaks down, I can always go back to 2o/2o. My last dog (Wick) took 18 months (!) to muster up the courage to set foot on a teeter, so that Rex was so enthusiastic and easy to train on the teeter was quite refreshing!

 

Here's a short video of him sequencing the teeter, weaves and some jumps.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Airbear, I just wanted you to know I watched your 2x2 videos again. You have the best sense of humor. I was just wondering. You talk about the reward line, but watching SG's video it seemed the reward line is straight out down the center of the poles. You seem to go down the poles to reward. Am I confused? I worked my girl on the first set of 2x2's today. It is a challenge for me as I have been taking a class where you just coax them down the entire length of 12 poles so started from just the 2 poles is different for sure.

I am so happy to report the Chi-Ann is now doing the Teeter on her own. That took some doing as she is very sound sensitive and hated the "bang". Well, she seems to be handling it just fine. I am so happy about that. It is the tunnel and chute I am now having a problem with. But, like the rest, it will come in time. I find that having the obstacles at home really helps her learn to not fear them. I sure am acquiring lots of equipment.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know I love watching you with Rex. You are both adorable.

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...You talk about the reward line, but watching SG's video it seemed the reward line is straight out down the center of the poles. You seem to go down the poles to reward. Am I confused?

Nope, the reward line is straight down the centre of the poles. If the poles are off-set (as they are in the beginning, say at 2 and 8 o'clock) you should still set the reward line as if the poles were totally in line, so the line is straight down the centre. Maybe the camera angle made it look like I put it somewhere else? Maybe I did put it somewhere else because I am spatially challenged? Small tangent, but if you want to add 20 to 30 minutes to building a course, put me in charge of course building. I *suck* at it. I am, however, very adept at picking up the cones after a course has finished running, and stacking them in descending order.

 

Glad you enjoyed the video, and glad to hear that Chi-Ann is making such progress. I think WIck still holds the record for the longest "I'm not going to do the teeter 'cause it might eat me" phase at a mere 18 months. She was in Masters Jumpers before she ever set foot on a standard course because of the teeter issue. Quirky little thing.

 

Now if you enjoyed my occasionally liberal interpretation of SG's 2x2 training, well, here's a sneak preview of what we're doing with Linda Mecklenberg's Developing Jumping Skills! tongue.gif

D30_1802.jpg

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Airbear,

You crack me up! I will have to watch just one more time to see if it was me halucinating on your reward line...could be! Let me tell you about the teeter. I have taken with 4 different instructors and I had to actually make the teeter myself to give Chi-Ann the confidence at home. I first made the board, painted it and just propped it up barely enough off of the ground to give it a bit of movement. Then I bought the base and put it on the lowest height. When I had her going over it with confidence, I raised it to the base I have it's max height which is 18" off the ground. We worked on this about 2x and now she goes over it with no problem and even lets it bang. I am very happy with the results of my logical way of training her so as not to scare her.

Now as for your jumping, please explain what on earth you are doing with your dog? I did purchase Linda's book, but have not even opened it yet. Now I am scared to even look at what that is all about!

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