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Training Exercises: Contact and Weave Entries

Work entries and discriminations in today's Training Tuesday challenge. By Elizabeth Dott

Here's a fun exercise to work on weave pole entries and exits, entries and safe approaches to contacts, and "turn backs" to tunnels off off contacts. 

Obstacles #1-#4
Starting with the weave poles, try to use lateral motion to pull towards the tunnel and still keep your dog from popping out of the poles. After the tunnel, be sure to pull your dog out a bit, giving him a straight approach to the A-frame. From #3 to #4, there are many ways to cross the weaves to get the side change needed for #5. You can front cross (turn in to your dog while ahead of him) or blind cross (turn your back to your dog while ahead of him) at the weaves before the weave entry, blind cross or front cross the weave exit, or use a simple rear cross (changing sides behind your dog) to #5. See video for details.

Obstacles #5-#8
Using your side change, make your turn to the dogwalk for #5 and #6. Number 7 is a turn back to the tunnel to the left. Using your right arm, bring it around to show the tunnel, rotating your shoulders. Where your arm goes, your shoulders should follow, giving a clear signal to your dog. For #8, pull your dog into you a bit to straighten him a little for a clean entry into the weave poles.

Obstacles #9-#13
You want to be on the left side of the poles to turn your dog for the long way out to the tunnel. Again, you can use lateral motion to pull your dog over and see how far you can get while he stays in the weave poles. Number 10 is back to the tunnel on the left. You can pull your dog across or add in a blind cross. Be sure to keep moving so your dog does not turn into the weave poles on your way back across. Be sure not to put to much pressure on your dog that might send him off to the opposite side of the tunnel. Number 11 is a turn back to the dogwalk. Again, like we did at the A-frame, be sure to give your dog a straight approach back up the dogwalk plank by shaping it a bit so it is safe. For numbers 12 and 13, as you drive back across the field toward the A-frame, be sure to close your shoulders by roating to the right so the dogs see the A-frame and use your verbal command.

Obstacles #14-#18
As you send your dog out over #14 and #15, be sure again to use your shoulders to tell your dog you are headed to the dogwalk. If you leave your shoulders open to much, you will point your dog straight into the tunnel. Be sure to turn your shoulders in to the left and use your verbal command for the dogwalk. At #18 again there are several ways to do the weave poles. You can use a blind or a front at the weave entry or exit.

Obstacles #19-#22
Push your dog out to #19, letting your motion carry him forward. When he is on the A-frame again, use your right shoulder to turn your dog off the A-frame into the tunnel. Pull to your weaves to finish the course.

My challenge to you is to see how many ways you can do this course and to re-number it for new challenges. If you have a video you would like to share with me or a new way to run this course, drop me a line at I would love to hear from you.

This article is part of a new Training Tuesday series that is appearing on USDAA's facebook page. We encourage you to discuss this course on our facebook, and to upload videos of you and your dog trying out one of the segments or the whole course. If you have a facebook account, please join in the fun here: 

Elizabeth Dott owns Legendary Agility Training in Altamonte Springs, Florida. She has been competing with her dogs in agility for the past 21 years. She has put many championships on her dogs over the years and has competed at the regional and national level. She can be reached at


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