This session the poles were set about 2.5 inches apart. My goal over the next couple training sessions will be to get the channel closed as soon as possible. The reason for this is that the channel can interfere with the stride pattern. The dog feels uncomfortable stepping on the track. If the dog is striding normally this is not that important but you also want to make sure the dog doesn’t have a chance to notice it. And if the dog does notice and is adjusting to accommodate not stepping on it, then you want to make sure that you don’t allow muscle memory to play too much of a role where the dog moves to avoid something that ultimately won’t be there.
Not a lot has changed as far as my approach from the last session so I will not repeat those steps. There are a few things to notice and a few freedoms you can start to take. First off, never let go of discipline. However, you do not need to start the dog in a sit stay every time. If the dog has focus on task then feel free to allow the dog to enter the poles without setting him up every time from a sit. This is important because the dog needs to learn to find his entries and now is the time to do it. If the dog pops near the end to get to the toy. Restrict the toy and start again. My dogs have an easy command. This allows the dog to back off and stay steady. I will also make sure I change my body language so it isn’t so much facing forward encouraging the dog to race to the end. By turning my shoulders towards the poles and using my hand furthest away I can encourage my dog to be a little more collected and this will help him stay in the poles.
Listo at this point is showing me that his focus is on task. This means he keeps his nose and eyes on the poles as he negotiates them. I generally do not use the weave command until the poles are closed but Listo is exhibiting a knowledge of what he is supposed to be doing. As a result I will introduce the weave command during his next session. I will do that after he shows me that closing the channel a bit more won’t affect him. The command has to be used and introduced during positive execution. Your dog should also be matching what your mental picture ultimately will be for speed and control.
Weaves are one of my favourite things to teach my dogs. Probably one of the reasons they are so successful executing them during competition. I get a thrill of pushing my dog through these sessions and the play is always energetic! Happy training!!