Weave training, Joon, day #5

“But,” you say, “what happened with the action-packed report from day #4?”

Well, we did pretty well, but it had become increasingly obvious to me that I was not sticking to MY criteria of minimal movement and keeping my mouth shut. With our session yesterday, she actually started to shut down at one point because she just wasn’t getting it. She kept running toward the poles and stopping, and it’s pretty clear from the video (which I won’t share) that I wasn’t going with her, or was turning too soon, or dropped my arm… stuff I should not have been doing anyway. Bless the video!

I also noticed, in watching the video (again, bless it), that Joon was frequently leaping through the poles, as if there was an 8-12″ high jump in there. I thought it might not be a good thing to repeat that behavior, but her drive for the toy was so great that it was hard to figure out how to stop that. Food just won’t work out there in the grass. I also was constantly disturbed by the fact that she would turn back to me whenever she caught sight of the toy coming at her from “my” side. So if she was on my right, I’d be throwing with my left hand, which would draw her back toward me when she saw the toy coming. Didn’t want to reinforce that behavior. I could not have the toy in my right hand if she was on my right. Watch the videos from the previous days and you’ll know why.

I remembered an article by Mary Ellen Barry in Clean Run Magazine (April 2009) that describes a wonderful step-by-step procedure for training the poles using this method. It’s somewhat different than Susan Garrett’s 2 x 2 method as described in Susan’s DVD on training the weaves. For instance, Mary Ellen uses food rather than toys at the onset, “to maintain your dog’s thoughtfulness and accuracy,” and then later progresses to rewarding with toys to reward speed and drive.  I like written directions better than video, though I like video too (and Susan Garrett’s 2 x 2 video is excellent!). I like video with an outline accompanying it, and wish instructional videos on agility training came that way!

Bottom line is that today I took a set of 2 weaves up into our barn loft training area (black rubber matted) along with Joon and some string cheese, and we worked Mary Ellen’s beginning steps #1 and #2. Dear Joon was awesome! and we got through the end of the two steps just fine in about 5 minutes – Joon’s brain’s limit for concentrated work. She does love string cheese, and she was quite thoughtful and accurate in her work. We’ll continue in the barn, and take our Flip camera with us, tomorrow.

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