Friday, September 15, 2006

Friday September 15th 2006 - home practice

(Backfilled in October 2009 due to impending closure of Geocities)

Have been doing one or two 5-minute weave sessions with Walter pretty much every day. He's coming along nicely, but sometimes I get pushy and try to put one pole straight up with the others bent, and that's when he starts to bypass poles. Someone gave me some advice that once the poles are 1-2" off centre, to leave them there for a month of daily practices to really work it into muscle memory, then try putting poles straight up, starting with only 1 or 2 near the middle. So I will force myself to be patient and follow this advice which sounds pretty reasonable to me. I hereby declare this to be the start of that 30-day period and promise not to put any poles straight up until... at least October 1st. :-) Also, I've been playing around with different ways of rewarding, such as treating from my hand or putting treats on the target. The former may lead to pop-outs, and the latter is not great because if I send the dog and they miss a pole, they still get the great. So just recently I've started putting treats into a bait bag which acts as a target. This really gets him excited, gives him something to drive to, and he can't self-reward for a faulty pass. The first photo below is the weaves at the height he's now consistent with, before he weaves through them; the second photo is after he weaved through them. You can see I need to re-adjust the poles quite frequently!

Gee, I just scrolled down this page and looked at Walter's weave-o-matic photo from two weeks ago, and he really has come a long way, which I need to remind myself when I find myself wishing for an "easy button" for the weaves. Having never trained a dog to weave before, it's hard to be confident that it will happen... but it will!

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