a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: We're Doing Weave Poles! We're Doing Weave Poles!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

We're Doing Weave Poles! We're Doing Weave Poles!

In class 3 weeks ago this coming Saturday, I found out that Boost's brother had just learned to weave, and he demonstrated them in class. I was bound and determined that I could teach my Booster to weave in one week if I worked at it, maybe 2 at the most. Well--I forgot that I had made commitments for Saturday mornings for at least the next 5 weeks and wouldn't be able to go to those Saturday classes (I didn't know when the classes were going to be starting up again) to show off, so there was alittle bit of a demotivator--no one to show off to. :-)

But I did work pretty persistently. After a week, I felt that we almost almost had them; she was doing weaves with my hand on a tab lead on her collar, but I was really hauling back on it to keep her from skipping and still guiding her through the weaves. She had wonderful drive, though, and I loved it. Wanted to keep that.

I started with 4 weave poles to get the motion down (3 wasn't enough to give the back-and-forth concept; that ended up looking more like a loop). Quickly decided that it needed to be at least 6, so I've just been working with six. Figured I would very quickly add 2 at a time to get up to 12 as soon as she showed signs of being independent.

Well--a week later, we were still almost there. Despite twice daily (most days) efforts, it wasn't clear to me that we were progressing.

So I experimented. Happened to have several of those little folding wire garden fences, about 12 inches tall and green, and they were perfect to set up channels on both sides of the 6-pole set. Her first inclination was to jump over them. Took a lot of effort to get her to still go through the poles even with my hand on her tab lead, but she finally figured it out.

My theory was that, if she could do the weaving motion without my hand on her, I could quickly fade the fencing and she'd be weaving. However, although she could indeed get through the poles on her own most times, she was suddenly very slow. And although I could move the fencing out to about 4 inches away from the poles, as soon as I bumped it even a bit more, she started squeezing between it and the poles.

I finally decided yesterday after several days of this that all the fencing was doing was giving her *more* things to look at and think about rather than *fewer*. I really missed seeing that drive that she had been exhibiting with the hand-in-the-collar method.

So yesterday afternoon and this morning and this afternoon we did really long sessions without the wires. Yesterday afternoon was exhausting and we just were really having a very high failure rate--me failing to get her into the right entry or not being able to control her to get her through every pole, and although once or twice i was able to let up on the tab lead a little and she'd complete them herself, as soon as I gave more ground, she started skipping like crazy. She finally got to where she was looking frustrated, so we did some fast tunnels and played a while and quit.

This morning I was finding that I could actually let up pressure on the tab lead and she actually managed to do about four in a row, skipping the last one, a few times, and maybe 2 or 3 times she in fact did ALL 6 WOW after I let go of her tab, but not twice in a row. Still, it was very exciting.

So, just now, we went out and hit it again, and after a few false starts--wow, she did the weave poles! Repeatedly! Not every times, but most times, all the way through, after I let go of the tab after the entry. Wahoo! So after several times of that and a break to do other stuff, I added two more poles for a total of 8, and it didn't faze her at all. 8 poles without my hand on! Not every time, but I think 4 or 5 out of 6--I was so excited I really couldn't keep track.

And I'm kind of still stooped over as if I had my hand on the tab, and I'm right next to her and she's a little herky jerky on the last couple while she remembers not to pop out too early, but she's definitely doing them on her own--and although not speed-demon fast, much faster that she ever did with the wire fencing on either side. Wahooooooooeeeeee!

We're doing weave poles! We're doing weave poles!

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