Posted Date: December 20, 2012
Work your weaves with Tania Chadwick!
This month we're going work on weave pole entrances. You don't always need a set of twelve weave poles to work entrances; in fact a set of six is nice because you can have a lot of options with four entrances to approach.
Here are my rules of thumb when working weave poles:
1) Don't over run the entrance. As you're approaching the weave poles with your dog, you may need to pause ever-so-slightly to allow your dog to gather himself to get in the weave poles. You do not want to stop your motion completely; show merely a slight hesitation to signal your dog to get ready. Your dog will also need to decelerate slightly enough to see the entrance, get his footwork set, and ready himself to make that turn from pole #2 to #3 and be able to carry on down the line. This gathering process takes only a fraction of a second, but helps your dog to ready himself to perform the weave poles successfully. You may have seen dogs in competition that make the entrance at a high rate of speed only to bust out at the second pole because they came in too fast and couldn't make the turn around the second pole.
2) For tight turns or angled approaches, aim your dog two or three imaginary poles ahead of the actual first pole. This gives your dog some space to complete the run or the turn to the pole when he's going full speed and gather himself to enter the weave poles. The larger the dog the more important this buffer is.
3) When performing a rear cross (where you cross behind your dog to change sides as the dog moves ahead of you) while approaching the weave poles, keep your arm upright and pointing to the poles so that your dog keeps driving forwad to the weave poles versus pulling off thinking he's supposed to turn.
4) Be patient! Work every entrance, every weave pole, every exit.
Tania Chadwick, owner of Fortis Agility Sports Training in San Jose, California, is an agility instructor and full-time mother of two children. She currently competes with her young Border Collie, Boss AD, AJ, AG, AS. Tania can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.