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Simon Learning Weave Poles

Posted by , 01 October 2007 · 279 views

Hi Everyone.

This is an experiment. I have been working with Simon learning the weave poles. I've been at it for just over 3 weeks, and have kept track of the number of sessions I have had with him working on the poles. Today was the 15th session.

For us a session is usually less than 5 minutes of training time. It could be as short as a minute. What I am looking for to begin a session is lots of energy and enthusiasm on Simon's part. Some good focus and attention, and a willingness to work. When I feel any of those elements begin to drop off, even in the slightest, session over, we'll do something else.

Simon's weave poles are the last piece in putting together the things he has to know in order to get ready to compete in agility. I've been working on his contact equipment ( the A Frame, Teeter, Dog Walk and table for the last year). Now putting all the pieces together is the fun part!!

If you have a high speed internet connection, follow this link to view the video of Simon's poles.

Simon Learning the Weave Poles

Simon had a boring weekend as we took a ferry to the Olympic Pennisula to compete in agility. Al got to compete. Simon got to watch and meet his friends, and go for some offleash walks. He discovered a BMX bike track that had lots of paths and hills and jumps and ran around it like he was on a race track. He particularly liked the woop d do hills. and the spread jump and hill climb.

So no agility training this weekend for him except for socializing him and having him around the rings while dogs competed.

At agility trials I have a ritual that I go through after every run. Al gets to celebrate with a special treat, and since Simon and Grace didn't get the fun of running a course, they get to celebrate right along with Al. After that we all go for a long walk, as there is usually a place where we can go off leash and the dogs can play safely. I practice recalls with them, and have lots of good treats to reward them for coming. At the end of the play, I have a game I always play with them if I can. I call it "In the Van". Whatever vehicle I'm driving is a "van" even if it isn't. I leave a door open, and have it parked in the field so the dogs can run directly from the field we are walking in to the car without having to go by other vehicles and or dogs. When I'm about 100 yards from the "van" I yell "in the Van"!! and it's a race to see who can beat me there. The dogs always win. I've got good treats to reward the dogs who are all inside in their beds waiting for me when I arrive. They think they are so smart.

It's also a great thing in an emergency, because I can yell "in the Van" and the dogs beat it to the vehicle as fast as they can, and wait for me there if they can't get in. This summer it saved Simon and Grace from a group of agressive Border Collies that charged at them while we were out walking. I yelled "in the van" when I saw the problem developing, and Grace and Simon ran like the wind to get to their safe haven. The Border Collies gave up their chase because the IGs were too fast and had too much of a head start. It was pretty scarey, and a good lesson for me to have learned. People with bigger dogs that can be aggressive, don't think it's a problem when their dogs get out of control and start something. They know that their dogs aren't going to get hurt. This is the first time in probably well over a thousand walks where there was a situation that could have very easily turned out to be bad. Thankfully it wasn't.

During our second night of camping, a severe windstorm came up and blasted the trial site and everyone who was camped there. I had decided that there were few weekends remaining where we could camp so we spent the weekend in a tent. The winds were over 50 MPH during the night and absolutely destroyed the equipment and shade tents set up for the trial. Our tent which is designed for heavy weather suffered a couple of bent poles, was almost flattened a few times by the heavier gusts, but managed to make it through the storm. My tent was the only thing left standing in the morning when everyone got up. Simon, Al Gracie and I were snug and warm in our two sleeping bags and I was amazed to look out the tent in the morning at the destruction that we had tried to sleep through.

I'll post the video a friend sent of the destruction on my website and you can link to it by following a link

Today we tried Weave poles when I came home from work. Simon hadn't done any work for 4 days. He did 4 sets of weave poles, and our training was over. All the attempts were with harder entries than I've given him before, and two from each side with 1 rear cross behind him from each side. He was perfect each time, and had much better footwork than last week. He was single striding the poles with his head much lower. He was going straight through as well, and using his shoulders to push the poles out of the way. And the best thing was his speed was much faster. That's the thing that I've noticed with Simon. Once he gets something he turns on the turbo booster and things are done as fast as he can.

Now I have to find some room so that he can learn to collect himself as he enters the poles, and so I can get some distance from him. In the end I want his poles so that it doesn't matter where I am in relation to him or the poles. He will understand his job is to get the correct entry, and complete them, and then go on and run with me.

The next task is to help him generalize the weave poles so that he understands that weave poles just don't happen in the back yard of our house. He's going to be asked to do them in different places, sometimes with other dogs around.

An Agility training and progress blog is an awesome idea Ken - I get so many people that ask me agility training questions ... I have been refering them here to get in touch with you! rolleyes.gif Your blog will be a wonderful resource!
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That was a great video!! Glad to see Simon is already doing so well with only a few training session on the obstacle. It's also really cute to watch you guys play in between runs, you can tell Simon is really having a great time!! Now I know why Al did so well with his agility runs, he just thinks it's one big game!!

Thanks again for posting this, I really enjoy seeing it!!
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Thanks for posting this, Ken. I loved watching it. You BOTH looked like you were having a ball.
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