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Old 06-23-2012, 09:27 PM
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Beanie Beanie is offline
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Default 2x2 Woes

I know a few of you on here have used 2x2s for your dogs and have adapted them some to address individual challenges for your dogs... so I'm hoping you guys may have some ideas.

Payton and I started 2x2s several (several...) weeks ago. It went super fast at first and it was awesome. He was hitting entries from all over the place, dropping his tug toy to go drive through the weaves, I was super excited.
But once we added the second set of poles, it fell apart.

My first challenge was that he didn't know to keep going. He would do the first set, then look at the ground for his toy and got confused because no toy had appeared. He'd look back at me. He'd come back and go through the first set again... confused. He would take a single step towards the second set of poles, look back - confused!
I tried to follow SG's recommendation on the DVD of rewarding between the poles 50% of the time for the first 5-6 reps, then only 30% of the time after that. So once he FINALLY managed to go through all four poles and I rewarded, and he came back and I rewarded between the poles, he got really confused again. Like he couldn't figure out why sometimes the reward appeared in the middle and why sometimes only after the second set. He was frustrated and ended up going off to sniff because he didn't know what to do.

So I stopped for about a week and didn't do any 2x2s. I asked some people's advice and they suggested only rewarding after the second poles, no longer trying to reward between the poles. When we went back to doing it, we finally got it to click and he was driving through all four poles. Okay, fabulous!

But then once I moved the poles closer together, and then started edging them closer to being straight up and down, it fell apart again. He did what SG warned about and started only taking the last set of poles. He did NOT want to take that first set of poles. Even if he was set up looking straight at them, he would buzz by the first set and only take the second set.

Frustrated, I took about another week off, read a bunch of stuff online, then decided to start over from the beginning again. It seemed to go much better this time, when I introduced the second set of poles he was driving harder and faster and I thought, okay, he GETS it now.
But today we got to where I started moving the poles closer to being straight up and down... and once again he only wants to do that second set of poles. And if I just stand there and wait, he'll keep doing only the second set of poles, and run back barking at me like "I DID THE POLES WHY DIDN'T YOU THROW MY TOY?" I even opened the first set of poles almost wide open to make the entry easier, and he STILL completely skipped past them. He's frustrated again and I'm frustrated because he is. And this is not a good frustration, like sometimes when the dog gets frustrated in shaping he whacks the bell and that's what you wanted, but nope... there's nothing productive about this frustration he is feeling and I think I'm really close to poisoning weave poles with him.
I took some video the first time we had problems and asked people if they thought his problem was being OVERstimulated and they didn't think so. Payton is... sometimes when we are shaping he is almost always at risk of going over threshold at any moment... but I don't think this is him being over threshold. As of yet he isn't quitting on me and going to sniff so we ARE in a better place than we were last time, but I don't want to get back to that again.

I even dragged my set of WAMs upstairs and outside this afternoon because I seriously considered just throwing in the towel on 2x2s. Auggie was trained on WAMs and his weave poles are his best obstacle, people always comment on how fast his weaves are and he very rarely misses an entry. But I love the idea of 2x2s so much, I really don't WANT to give it up... I believe in the theory behind this method even though it's been five weeks and my dog still can't even do four poles. 12 poles in 12 days? Not even close.

So, for those of you who have played with the method and tweaked it to suit your dog's individual "needs" so to speak... any ideas? If it's chuck the 2x2s and hit the WAMs instead, I'm honestly cool with that, but I wanted to ask for some input since I recall a thread before where people talked about doing some different tricks with the 2x2s to make it work for their dog.

TIA for some brainstorming and sorry this is long. =P

Auggie - The Flash RN NAJ MXP MJP CGC
Payton - Sharp Dressed Man NA NAJ NF CGC
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