An Unlikely Performance Champion

Wally's World

Agility: Week 3

Posted by shana on March 30, 2011 in Agility with No Comments

Tonight we worked on the weave poles. Weave Poles are probably the hardest obstacle for a dog to learn. Even the Teeter isn’t as hard, although its probably the second hardest. But Weaves are very technical and are something a dog wouldn’t naturally do. The ones we learn on are set 22″ apart, which was the old standard across all agility organizations. Today, most use 24″ weaves, including both CPE and AKC agility. Learning on 22″ weaves makes running on 24″ weaves much easier for the dog – its not so hard to manage an increase in size, but going down in size is hard.

Wally was a pro at them! We have done weaves at home a few times, but its been months. After 8 tries, 4 in each direction, he already had excellent rhythm. We start weaves with them off-set from a straight line by 6″, this gives a narrow channel for the dog to visually see as they move down the row. We go slowly so the dog can think about how they are moving their body and placing their feet. In the beginning most dogs exaggerate the movement so they are curving their body around each pole. In time they learn rhythm, some dogs do a single foot step forward, angling past each pole with each step, while others do a two footed hop. You usually see the two footed hop (picture a dog jumping forward with front feet together, between poles) in the smaller dogs, while larger dogs do the single step, and either is acceptable though the single foot forward method is more efficient for most dogs.

As a point of reference, it took nearly a year for my Dane to learn any degree of rhythm with off-set weaves. And here is Wally, an uncoordinated goofy puppy, and he already has it. He still has a long way to go on weaves, but I am very excited to see his ability so quickly come together.


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Agility: Week 2

This weeks class we worked on the a-frame set slightly higher and introduced the teeter. T...

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Agility: Week 4

Tonight I failed Wally big time. I forgot treats for class! He was appalled that all I had...

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A Note From Shana:

This blog is a journal to record my progress in training a Tibetan Mastiff, known for their independent and untrainable nature, to compete at the highest levels of AKC Agility and Obedience. Succeed or fail, my hope is our journey is inspirational to my fellow TM owners, as well as a source of humor and humility for dog lovers everywhere.

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