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Training Exercises: Up and Back

Deborah Davidson Harpur designed these sequences to provide lots of weave pole entry practice. Article by Brenna Fender and Deborah Davidson Harpur


Good weave pole entry skills are important for success in the agility ring. After practicing "round the clock" entries (sending your dog from every possible angle into the poles), you will need to try entering the poles with speed after completing other obstacles. The Up and Back sequences offer plenty of opportunities to do just that. Using several sets of six poles (rather than a set of 12) allows you the chance to practice entries without unnecessarily taxing your dog's body with many repetitions of a full set of poles.

With all the figures below, you will have the chance to determine what is the best way for you to handle your dog with tricky weave pole entries. You will also be able to test your training and determine how well your dog understands independent weave pole entries. Do you have to manage and shape the entries so that your dog can be successful? If you do, do you want to do that, or do you want to have an independent weaver?

Figure 1

In figure 1, there are four opportunities to weave. The approaches to #2 and #9 are angled. Will running with your dog to the entries (especially to #2) pull your dog away from the correct entry? Will leading out perpendicular to the weaves and sending your dog into the poles straight on work better? Does a similar technique work for the #9 weaves?

For the #5 weaves, which way is better to turn your dog around jump #4? Does it matter? And what's the best way to get your dog to the #12 weaves? Do you need to manage the entry and then pull him away from the poles a bit to send him in straight? Or can you just send him and go on?

Figure 2

In figure 2, most of the entrances are straight and speedy. This course gives you the opportunity to be sure of whether your dog can hit entries with speed. Do you have to slow your dog down to get him into the poles correctly? If so, you might want to do more training so that your dog can learn to collect himself so that he can properly enter the poles at any speed.

Figure 3

Figure 3 combines several skills: angled entrances, very speedy entries, and weaves-as-off-course opportunities all make an appearance in the final exercise. If your dog learns to be succesful on this sequence, he should be able to handle the weaves in any course you attempt!

Want more practice? Print out this blank version of this course and renumber it however you like:

Happy Training!


Deborah Davidson Harpur has been competing in agility since 1999 and is known as a handler of a wide variety of breeds of all shapes and sizes. She offers agility training classes in the Port of Los Angeles area for both recreational and competitive agility students. You can find her on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/deborah.davidsonharpur or read about her dogs at pm2dogagility.com

Brenna Fender is the editor of USDAA.com news page and newsletter, among other things. She currently owns four dogs, two rabbits, and a truckload of baby mice (see www.mouseyproject.blogspot.com for an explanation). She also neglects her humor blog at www.laughingattherain.blogspot.com and spends even less time updating her dog training blog (which she's really going to get back to, honest) at www.tailsofthedarkside.blogspot.com. She can be reached at bfender@usdaa.com.

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