Maddie is in excellent B in standard and two legs away from excellent B in jumpers. She is excellent. We consistently run the courses in time and clean with the exception of the weave poles. I am so frustrated. She will complete her weaves about 5o% of the time. The other times she will walk through the entrance of the poles and look around like she dosen't know where she is or will pop out at 10. She has hypothyroidism. I had her re-evaluated by her vet thinking that her levels were low. She is fine.
Here are the things I think I have done wrong training this obstacle:
1. In trials I make her redo the weaves if she goofs them up.
2. I trained her by using the magic stick. Follow a dowel with food on it. She does not look down when doing weaves and has become overly dependant on me.
3. When she would miss her weave poles I would sigh or go "oh Maddie".
I feel like I have demotivated her and goofed everything up. It is my fault.
I am now retraining. I started by having her drive through a channel weave to a target. Fast with me restraining her slightly to increase her drive. Now I am using the weave a matics to work on her foot work. She has been serpentining instead of single striding. With the weave a matics she is working on her footwork. Right now I am telling her to get it. When she becomes fluid again I will tell her to "twist".
During retraining she is having set backs and break throughs. She is missing weaves in practice. Even though regularly miss weaves in trials she almost never misses them in practice. I ignore her goof run her through a few more obstacles and retry again an obstacle or two in front of the poles. Her footwork is improving. I can see her learning a new way to do things. I move the weave a matics (6 pole to start) in my living room so that we could work on it about 15 mins a night. She is driving consistantly to a target.
I have researched weaves extensively, have several dvds and have every clean run article regarding them.
Can anyone tell me if they have had a similar problem or if you think I may be on the right track?
Thanks in advance for your help.
Funny, just last night my agility instructor was talking to me about retraining her dog (a fast BC). He was stutter stepping thru the weaves. She is retraining him exclusively with the channel weaves now. She leaves them open then throws a toy to the end to get the dog to drive straight thru, just like you. She has been closing the channels very slowly. They are just slightly off set now and the improvement in the dogs weaving style is incredible. His footwork is much better now.
I've never used the channels but had to do something similar with Murray when he had a melt down with weaves. I used the regular weaves and tossed a tennis ball at the end as he was weaving. It really caused him to drive thru. I also had to learn to hold back to let him enter the weaves first and I cannot get ahead of him. He likes off side better than on side and he likes it better when I give him some distance
(~5') between me and him.
Something another trainer mentioned to me is that you need to keep your shoulders facing the weaves all the way thru pole 12. This keeps the dog in the weaves. I've noticed that when Murray has popped out its because I'm thinking of the next obstacle and turning my shoulders away from the poles.
Another thing to look at is having a chiropractic check up for her. Weaves are very hard on the dog's back. If she hurting/out of alignment, it may cause her to slow down and start avoidance behaviors.
Brody was so slow and cautious on the weaves it made me scream - but had I shared an ounce of that feeling with him he would have totally shut down
I have set up my 6 weaves all over and worked on getting him faster through them - he still needs support and can't do an offside weave to save my life but he is now dead steady and accurate in the weaves - he ends up being quicker through them then some of the much faster dogs... and he doesn't fault in them either
I will retrain entries so I can get offside weaves (now that we run masters it seems to be much more important) and independance (I doubt I'll get any more gamblers qs without them) but I will retrain them with joy and PARTTTTEEEEEEEEE in my heart or I'm sure it will backfire
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller