Help With Weave Poles

Discussion in 'Dog Sports' started by trickpony, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. trickpony New Member

    We just started learning weave poles about a week ago and my dog is just not getting it. We are doing the 2x2 method. He will sometimes go between the two poles, but he's so inconsistent.

    Any tips or should I try a different method?

    running_dog likes this.

  2. barnhill Experienced Member

    Keep with it. I taught Tempest with the 2x2 method and it worked out great.

    Just be sure you only reward when he goes through the poles and I am sure he will pick it up quick.
    southerngirl likes this.
  3. running_dog Honored Member

    Please can you give us a little more detail?

    What do you mean by inconsistent? Please correct me if I am wrong but at face value "inconsistent" sounds like you have not communicated what you want clearly to your dog or your dog is not focussed on you. I've been there done that and got all the t'shirts!

    If a dog is not succeeding you need to review the following:
    • Does your dog want to work with you and is he engaged with the trick you are trying to teach him? If not you need to work on building attention and focus and reducing distractions.
    • Are you lumping too much together? Go back to the beginning, step up your criteria very very slowly so your dog is totally confident in knowing exactly what you want and expect.
    • Are you rewarding rapidly enough and highly enough to make the trick fun? If you are not rewarding at least every 2-3 seconds for the first 20-30 attempts (not necessarily in the same session) then you need to break the trick down into easier steps until you can reward that often. Does the dog want the rewards you are offering?
    • Does your dog see the point of what it is doing? Again this is back to the rewards... you know that weaving is a really fun cool trick that you are both going to love but your dog doesn't know that it just sees two stupid poles and unless you give it a good reason to love running between them your dog is probably going to think this whole thing is downright stupid.
    • Are your sessions too long and repetitive? Try a session of 3 repetitions then do a few other tricks followed by a couple more 2x2.
    • Is your body language giving a clear message to the dog? You probably won't be introducing a cue at this stage so make sure your body is not giving confusing messages to the dog. If you have introduced a cue make sure your verbal and body cues are consistent.
    • Are the poles left out all the time? At this stage of training you might want to put the poles away when you are not using them then when you set them up they will signal that a really fun game is about to happen.
    I'm sure there are more questions to add but those are the ones I would start by asking myself. I hope this is some help to you. If you add a little more detail or even better a video of what is happening in training sessions I could give more specific suggestions.
  4. trickpony New Member

    Thanks so much for the help! We took a few days off of practicing them and will try again today. Yes I have been leaving them out all the time. I try to tell him good boy good boy if he his headed the right direction, but sometimes that makes him stop and look back at me.

    At this point, do you think I should still be throwing a treat to get him to go through?
  5. running_dog Honored Member

    You're welcome.

    So you are luring rather than shaping? Until your dog is 100% reliable with the treat you shouldn't be fading the lure. As your dog is inconsistent without you throwing a treat then YES you should still be throwing a treat to get him to go through.

    Any time your dog misses the poles you need to move back in closer or make things easier in some other way. A dog should never fail in more than 2 out of ten attempts (and far less if your dog has low confidence). So if your dog misses the pole ONCE you make sure your dog has NO opportunity to fail for at least the next EIGHT times. I know it sounds slow but it isn't - dogs learn really really fast this way and it finishes up with a dog that loves what it is doing and does it confidently and consistently.

    I'm afraid that it does sound like you need to figure out how to communicate better with your dog. Don't worry though, if you are prepared to take responsibility for your dog's lack of understanding this can be fixed very easily - I'm sure you'll find like I did that it is a lot easier to improve my training technique than to get my dog a head transplant :LOL:. Watch the trainer-dog communication in this 2x2 video from youtube, how does it compare with what you are doing?

    Hope this helps :)

    BTW do you use a clicker?
    kassidybc likes this.

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