Tuesday, March 27, 2012

W is for Weave!

Photo by Mike Lifer Photography

Finally got the chance to get outside and get some video of a training session.  It's nothing crazy--just more Alphabet Drills (have I mentioned how much I love this book?  It's perfect for a small yard and not a lot of equipment!)

Yesterday we worked on letter W, which as it turns out, stood for weaves!

Unfortunately the neighbor's dogs were outside all day, and Bentley didn't get to play at all.  In case I haven't mentioned it before, he is reactive (as are the neighbor's dogs) and I don't want him to get the chance to practice reactivity during agility--which should be fun and stress free for the dogs.

I'll take a moment to talk about Lexi's weaves.  She has always been a low and fast weaver--for which I am grateful.  Those are two things that I don't know how to teach!  Of course, the "fast" part comes with a price.  If she's going too fast, she sometimes doesn't want to slow down to get her entry.  We retrained her this past summer using the beginning stages of 2x2, combined with a lot of rear end awareness exercises and I think that helped.  But, as you'll see in the video, there are still approaches that she hasn't quite figured out.  I'd like to get that independent entry (priceless with a fast dog) but we definitely aren't there yet.

Weaves are one of the things that confuse me because I watch videos of top trainers with their dogs (Susan Garrett recently posted one of her dog Swagger while she used her NRM to let him know to try the entry again) and they have such patient, thoughtful dogs.  I'd love to see a video of someone with a dog who will do it wrong 99 times out of 100.  Does Lexi want to get it right?  Of course--she's a working dog!  But, does she also want to go fast?  You bet!  And those two don't always mix.  If I were to use an NRM over and over as she continued to miss her entry, I think she would give up--and I don't want that.  Of all things, her enthusiasm is what I love best (even if it has its drawbacks).  I say all of that to say that from a certain angle, Lexi will miss her entry 99 times out of 100.  Maybe even 100 times.  So, we decided to bring back the wires and see if that would help.  At certain points they do, and other times they seem to throw her off.

Here's a brief video with some high (and low!) lights.

In the first 4 seconds, I found it odd that she wanted to take that off set jump.  Of course I can see that she was trying to find her line (something we worked on quite a bit) but it really wasn't on the way to me.  She did this twice until I re-angled the jump and made it clearer.

Then you'll see that she blasts past the weaves.  I was able to eventually get her in from this angle, but only with serious deceleration on my part, as well as a bit of babysitting (waiting there with her).  From the other direction, she has less trouble.


  1. Very cool exercise!! Lexi is am amazing weaver! I saw your neighbor's dog's head pop up at the fence. Crazy! I would not like that at all.

  2. I don't do agility but always enjoy watching your agility videos and love your Lexi and Bentley! I like the way Lexi jumps, she is so full of energy and she looks so happy all the time.

  3. Fun! I'm off to do letter G :)

  4. On the weaves that she was successful, you were right near the first or second pole. She knew where she was going. The other direction , when she was missing, you were half way down the poles. It looked like she didnt even know she was suppose to go to the poles. I probably would help here more and stay near the 1st or 2nd pole and once she start getting it , then start moving down to make it more independent.