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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

2 x 2 Weaves

Kirby loves agility. We take our classes through Paws Abilities Dog Training and it's been a very fun journey!  At this point, Kirby will take just about every obstacle put in front of him, with the exception of a full on teeter (it's still modified on short tables) and weaves.

Wait, let me make a correction. Kirby will do weaves just perfectly fine... on the Paws Abilities class course. Anywhere else, it's as though he's never seen a weave pole before.  It's mildly frustrating for me to watch him do them perfectly in class and then go home to our setup and watch him clown around like he doesn't have a clue.

So, while attending a NADAC agility trial last weekend, I had a chance to sit down with Laura from The Dogs Are Really In Charge and she said "Have you tried the 2x2 method yet?"  Ummmm... no?  I'd heard of it before. I'm a big Susan Garrett fan and I have a number of her books and DVD's. But I'd never tried the 2x2 weaves before. Using her shoes and mine on a bleacher seat, Laura explained the basic concept to me.

And last night, we put it to the test.

I stuck two poles into the ground about 2 ft apart. I had our handy dandy tennis ball in hand. I sat Kirby directly in front of the poles about 7 ft away, got into place with my arm out and told him to 'weave'.

He ran around the poles. "Oops!" is our fail word. It means 'That is not what you were asked, let's try it again' and no reward.

Reset. "Weave". Kirby again flew around the poles and searched the air for his beloved ball. "Oops!"

Reset. This time I set him up about 4ft from the opening and was a little more obvious with my hand/arm. Kirby bolted between the poles!  "YES!" Throw the ball.

I love our new tennis ball reward system by the way. Once that ball is thrown, Kirby must immediately flip back through and figure out what exactly he did to get that result, because he's a quick study after that.

Reset again, about 5ft away. He nailed it again and again. It was only when I changed his start position at a bit of an angle that he got confused and ran around them. But we simply reset and tried again and he did it!  We ended there on that note. If I've learned anything in dog training, it's that short, quick sessions are more likely to bring success than a long, frustrating, drawn out session. So no matter what we're doing, we keep it short.

I will likely need to borrow or buy the 2x2 weaves DVD soon, just so I'm clear. But a couple of people have sent me youtube videos which are also really helpful. Stay tuned to see if 2x2's works for us!

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