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Old 06-20-2013, 11:06 AM
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Laurelin Laurelin is online now
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Default Weave woes

I suck at training weaves and it is frustrating me to no end. I can train everything else and my dogs rock at it but we are sooo behind on weaves compared to the other dogs in class. So... help? I'm getting frustrated to be honest.

I think there's a few problems I'm running into.

1. I'm confusing them. too many methods tried and now they just have no flipping clue what to do. Sometimes they randomly wrap around a pole and sometimes they just seem to run through correctly. Other times they pop out at pole 2 and just run. Sometimes they think they need to jump over the base of the weaves. I think because they are so confused they are stressing and having motivation issues.

2. They're small? That seems like something that would make things easier but I have found my dogs automatically lock on to the weave pole base and seem to not really look at the poles.

3. No toy drive so any methods throwing toys aren't working so hot. Even with the food toys I'm not having much luck there.

My equipment: 12 stick in the ground weaves and 3 sets of 2x2s.

What I've tried:

2x2s: they will go through a set of 2 from easy entrances correctly most the time. Only sometimes not and then other times they just run around them. Which goes back to confusion on their part. But I have no idea how to 'fix' that and correct that. When we do one set of poles and send them to the target they will hit it well but I swear they have no idea about the poles. I don't know that they realize the poles are really part of the game.

I've tried putting the 2x2s in a circle and running them through each. It's so-so but I don't see progress really.

Channels: Everyone in my class is doing channel weaves. My dogs....? We can open the channel 100% and they will absolutely not stay and run through the middle of them. Ever. Which has made channels difficult. They go through the first two then pop out and run as fast as they can outside the channel. We've tried rewarding in the middle, using a target, and whatever. Not much help really.

Shaping: This is where I am now. I brought out my 2x2s and put one in the living room. Clicker in hand, cookies and waited. Summer is still trying to interact with the base of the weave poles most the time. Mia is seeming to get it a little better and she is circling around and finding the entrance to the set of 2 poles. Where do I go from here with them? How do I get Summer to realize that jumping over/targetting the base or lying down between the poles is not what I want?

Anyways so there is my confessional on how I suck at training weaves. I can capture and shape all sorts of tricks but weaves are not my friend.

I think Im going to schedule a private lesson for just weaves. Hopefully I can get something started that I can carry on at home.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:21 AM
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Definitely schedule a private with a someone who'll understand your dogs. I was extremely frustrated with my dogs entrances before I did a private and realized I was pushing too fast along and positioning myself towards the second pole, something I had absolutely no idea about until educated eyes caught it.

I wouldn't concern yourself with their size after seeing some small dogs rock them. I think it's more of a throwing too many things at them and not following a process through.

With your 2x2s have you stood silently in a line up and built weave drive (like jump drive) by clicking and rewarding for going out and seeking crossing the pole base? Are you consistently rewarding at the reward line across the pole? Only then should you add another set of poles, when you can line up, lunge and the dog will soar forward through the poles around the right side of the clock. Then you add a second set perpendicular to the dirt making the entrance almost inevitable and continue your click and reward on the same spot while slowly tightening until they're running four before repeating with the last set.

I think we have a habit of rushing, I know I do, and it really hurts their performance. Finally I was forced to give up or take it super slow and then within four weeks they were fixed. What I did though, importantly, is not push during each session. I accepted where we were and moved at the dogs speed.

Also, my dogs are *too* toy motivated so I used food to help them think more clearly.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:30 AM
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I know people don't like it (though I'm not sure why), but we used guides. We use them with everyone who comes through the program, and we have 100's of independently weaving dogs.

I like the method because you really cant screw it up. We start baby dogs with x-pens and just encourage driving down the lane. Back off xpens pretty quickly to little garden gates on alternating sides to force a change of direction. One by one remove the gates. I did the whole thing with cheese, as Lucy has no toy drive either.

Of course, in the past month we went from having perfect weaves 100% of the time to a dog who won't weave in a trial...so maybe my suggestion should be ignored (I firmly believe that's stress more than anything though). We still have nice weaves in class and in training.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:31 AM
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I'm retraining Kim's weaves right now since she may get to try her paw at competition again in a couple months. Her weaves have always been our weakest link due to the crappy intro and many methods we started with (poor First Dog). She started with channels then did weaveomatics. Then I sort of "patched" her poor entrances with something resembling 2x2s. She's had almost a year off now so I'm rebuilding from the ground up with 2x2, acting as though she never knew anything. So far so good, and she offered a speedy single-striding performance across 6 poles from a ridiculous angle last night at a practice...I hadn't cued them, so obviously we are transferring some value there. Fingers crossed.

Webster was the same way and I retrained him on 2x2 as well. He was the first dog I did 2x2 with and he didn't really have much retrieve drive then so the firt part was taught on a flat surface (black mats in our case) with a high contrast food (white diced cheese mostly) so I could toss the piece of food onto the reward line and not lose him as he hunted for it. If I delivered with my hand it caused problems (not surprising I know ) and at first I had to set him up facing it and release until he figured out the reward line because if he got turned around at all he would start offering touches and various other behaviors at the poles and base and get frustrated when his fifty rapidfire offers earned him nothing. One he figured out the reward line he was better, but when I adde the second set I had to reward between fairly regularly at first. Progress sped up quite a bit when I started really working on his ball drive and was able to throw the toy and reward on the return.

Mira and Cookie were the opposite (Cookie only ever did two rotated sets spaced well apart as she was too young to actually weave)...their retrieve drive was so high that they really didn't care a whit about the poles in the way and would just throw themselves at them and demand the ball lol. So we had to break that down too, just for different reasons.

Of they frustrate you, though, walk away. Do something fun instead. Then when you're in the mood or say right before dinner, make it really easy, do it once or twice, reward heavily, then walk away. You'll make far more progress and have happier weavers than if you work hard at it while it feels like, well, work.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:33 AM
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I know we had a national winning NADAC guy do some seminars in Vegas who used xpens as guides and that definitely worked, I like 2x2s because it seems once the weaves are the dogs choice they drive harder and understand them better. That being said he has a ton of success and so do his students so I think it's a valid method. (My inexperienced guess as to why people dislike guides)
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:39 AM
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I talked to the other trainer here some (she does really well with her dogs) and they use guides. They start dogs on channels, get them driving through at speed, then when they close them pop guides on at first. I've thought about guides to be sure. Cali how did you teach with guides? I still have to overcome them not wanting to drive down the open poles.

One thing I've thought about is just with my stick in the ground weaves place them up like a jump (totally perpendicular to me) then get them running through them. Then add set #2. and so on until there's a channel. Then start closing them?

I think my problem with the 2x2s is drive and reward. I was rewarding from my hand after them since the throwing the toy wasn't working. I've been working on toy drive with the food toys so maybe that will be helpful. I was using a target but my dogs are faster than I am so I was having trouble timing it so the reward was given at the right time and not for them messing up.

I need to get a game plan and stick to it though. This bouncing around is not working (surprise).
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
One thing I've thought about is just with my stick in the ground weaves place them up like a jump (totally perpendicular to me) then get them running through them. Then add set #2. and so on until there's a channel. Then start closing them?.
This is like modified 2x2s just without the 2x2 bases. Have you seen this video?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7anJ3egQmyw


You might also want to find some kind of larger cookie to throw. I bought Charlee Bears because they are largeish and yellow, so easier for the dog to spot in the yard.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
This is like modified 2x2s just without the 2x2 bases. Have you seen this video?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7anJ3egQmyw


You might also want to find some kind of larger cookie to throw. I bought Charlee Bears because they are largeish and yellow, so easier for the dog to spot in the yard.
I have watched that video and that was (in my mind lol) my plan. I think I am having trouble getting the dogs to drive through especially without using a toy to throw. They run through and then I reward by hand, which is changing things.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
I have watched that video and that was (in my mind lol) my plan. I think I am having trouble getting the dogs to drive through especially without using a toy to throw. They run through and then I reward by hand, which is changing things.
Even if you plan to use treats to train the 2x2's throwing the treat is a key element. If you go by SG's method. You should have a tossable treat.

When I retrained Carrie using 2x2's I put canned dog food in the tiniest lidded container I could find and tossed my reward, then ran to it and opened it for her to have a lick or two. The key with 2x2's is reward placement, so rewarding out of your hand is adding little value to forward drive for the dog. She wants them driving forward to the weaves then having the reward appear ahead of the dog.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
Don't feel bad. Weaving is hard for a lot of dogs. It's not something they do any other time naturally. I had a lot of frustrations with Payton too, especially trying to force the 2x2s. I ended up taking a few weeks off working on it then tried a completely different method and we stumbled through finding something that worked.

Can you take some video of shaping with the 2x2s? My gut reaction from reading your post is that you're lumping when you should be splitting. I ended up shaping Payton's weaves and once he "got" the idea it actually went very quickly, but it took a while to get the idea to sink in. I also mixed my methods, shaping with weave-a-matics, then I switched back to the 2x2s so I could open the gate in a different way than you do with weave-a-matics.

I also wonder if you're doing sessions that are too long. If they are frustrated with the task at hand, you should be working even shorter. Maybe two minutes? Get a couple of successes - literally two or three - then stop. Lots of clicks for any forward movement through the gate even if Summer appears to be running up to scratch the base or whatever. Since you're inside right now, you can throw a cookie forward without worrying about it getting lost in the grass.


I would still work on toy drive, but completely separate to the weaves. Don't try to use toys with the weaves until you have great toy drive. If you're trying to do weaves and use toy drive which you don't have yet, you're basically working on two skills at once AND trying to reward with something that isn't rewarding, so it's just frustration abound for you and the dogs I think.
Can you clarify the bolded? I think you are correct though that I'm asking way too much too soon from them both. I really am pretty good about not letting my frustrations through but I just keep waiting for some progress and there's not any... I've noticed they try harder when I break it up and ask for very very basic tricks in between. Mia especially.... she gets really excited about playing but will go and run around the 2x2s a few times then get totally demotivated. I decided on the shaping as that was a game that she really understands and it seemed a lot less demotivating to her.

Will try for a video tomorrow.
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