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2×2 Weave Pole Training Discoveries

Posted on 01/14/11 61 Comments

Recently I responded to a post on a forum about someone struggling with their 2×2 training and wondering what they did wrong (or perhaps was the method flawed and not appropriate for all dogs). Obviously I feel the method works wonderfully for all dogs but not necessarily for all trainers:). However I was hoping in this case it was just a bit of mis-direction and Steve could be coached through to success.

Here are  a few video clips showing you what Steve had created with his training at that point (you can watch them all or just a sampling of each on to get the idea).

A great idea for your abilities is to get a pen and paper before you watch these clips and see how many errors in training you can catch (before reading on and seeing what I mention).


And here is my response to Steve’s post:

I saw your Youtube videos of your BC training 2x2s and there were many key issues on the DVD that you missed. You can see other examples of how these issues effect training in video clips by doing a search on my blog (www.susangarrettdogagility.com). I am not saying that you can not make any mistakes and still get great results with the 2×2 method– but when you err in 4 key areas of importance I believe training ANYthing with ANY method would then be a challenge for even an experienced dog trainer.

Here are the areas where I saw you strayed from the DVD;

1)One of the more massively important mistakes you make has to do with the lack of a reward line. You are handing food to your dog from the beginning encouraging your dog to wrap around a pole to look at you during the reinforcement process — thus you are building a connection between going through the 2 poles and seeking out your eyes. When you do start throwing the toy it is rare it lands on the reward line and when it does, it is 30 feet or more away from the poles teaching the dog the most important part of the game is to power out of the poles because your toy will never be anywhere near the end of poles.

Key Reminder #1:

Understand, acknowledge and always be aware of the reward line (in line with the middle of the poles between 6-10′  from the end of the poles. Use it, every repetition!

2) It was stressed at several times throughout the video to be aware of where you dog’s eyes are looking during the training. I mentioned that when I trained Encore she wanted to watch the toy sail from my hand so I had to stick with food for longer at the beginning of her training (however I never handed my dog the food like you are in these clips –which encourages the dog to want to watch you). Once you have built into the process that watching you is an important part of weave training you have made the job of learning to weave incredibly difficult for the dog because he can’t be doing both; look at you while looking ahead for the next set of poles.

Key Reminder #2:

Where are your dog’s eye looking? You want them focused ahead NOT at you!

3) You work the small slice of the pie w-a-y too much thus your dog has learned that weave pole training is about “finding the opening between 2 poles at a gallop and blasting through as fast as you can.” By working high on the arc rather than “straight-on” the dog will learn to collect his stride on approach to the weaves. With a fast, drive dog, I rarely allow a straight on a approach to the weaves early on in the training.

Key Reminder #3

Stay away from the easy entries. Try them only occasionally for confidence building. Work high on your “arc” 95% or more of the time.

4)As the videos states, moving on in your training is critical. Four months at the open pole stage is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days too long. The longer you stay at one stage the more you are building an association with the dog that weaving is all about “X-Y & Z” For your dog now the sight of the poles has been classically conditioned to mean “weaving is all about running as fast as you can to blast through the big opening while looking at your owner in order to charge 30 feet beyond the end of the poles to chase your toy that you have tracked out of your owner’s hand.”

Key Reminder #4

Move on!

Yes you want understanding at each stage but the longer you stay at that stage the longer the dog believes that is what his job requires. For example if you were shaping your dog to go around a chair and you rewarded him for going half way around for 2 months, why on early would the dog every consider there is more to the exercise than stopping half way?

Yes the DVD does make it look easy, however following the steps as laid out in the DVD is important. I have found that the people that struggle with this method are the ones that “do it their own way” or use someone else’s suggested “improvement” either on purpose or because they misinterpret the steps — this will be more evident when you see the video clips from my blog.

Once you ignore some of the more critical warnings from the DVD you change 2×2 weave pole training from something that should be accomplished in a few weeks to the frustration both you and your dog are experiencing now. I have received literally hundreds of emails and letters from people all over the world that successfully trained their dogs using the 2x2s and are thrilled with the results.

This IS a method that will work will all dogs of all breeds but ONLY if it is followed at least roughly right. At this stage of your training, I would advise you to do one of two things:

A) Either get your dog on a channel or weave-o-matic set up so he can experience what weaving really should be (knowing by doing this you are likely resigning yourself to the fact that this dog will be a “blaster” while weaving. . . one that will snap off poles as he is already doing (which hard on the body) and he will likely struggle to hitting entries throughout his career– your next issue to deal with will likely be him going 1-3 in his entry work.


B) Stop working weaving all together for a couple of months and go back and follow the DVD to the letter when you start again paying close attention to;

1) A reward line that extends from the middle of the poles to only 6-10 feet past the end of the last pole.

2) Where are your dog’s eyes looking (during this time off I would recommend you work on some focus forward exercises as well as more body awareness).

3) Work high on the arc 95% of the time — do not allow the dog to blast

4) MOVE ON! Get the dog at the 1 o’clock -7 o’clock stage of this training within 5 sessions once you start up again (personally, I would likely have him there by session 2).

5) Review the video and the sections of my blog I recommended this time with a pen and paper, taking notes. Or better yet, go to my website and purchase the downloadable DVD transcripts. Then just get a highlighter and pen to jot down things necessary to jog your memory while you are training.

The happy ending to this story is that Steve did take my advise and he did take the month off. When he returned he incorporated my suggestions and in no time had his dog weaving as evident below.

Today I am grateful for Steve allow me to use him as the subject of todays blog. Now here is where the rest of you that have had massive success with your 2×2 training write about YOUR experiences (love to hear the success stories).


  1. Chuck Pilny says:
    Sunday, January 15, 2017 at 2:24pm

    First, thank you Steve for allowing us to see and analyze your videos. It helps a lot to watch you train and see if we can spot problems. Also, thank you Susan for pointing out the areas of training that needed attention. I know I didn’t see some of them.
    I trained my ECS on 2×2’s and he has super weaves. I wonder what Susan’s opinion is on the importance of the dog always entering the weaves with the first pole on the left shoulder and also your opinion of using channel weaves, once the initial 12 poles are being done to build speed?


  2. Pat says:
    Tuesday, October 29, 2013 at 2:03am

    I have a nine month old puppy so it will be a while before we start any weave training. One thing I wanted to say was that I love Steve’s enthusiasm and I think he did a great job in the end. Well done.


  3. Lynda Orton-Hill says:
    Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 9:42am

    Having a clear reward line is most helpful for both the dog and trainer. When we first started teaching poles this way we realized how important a accurate thrown reward was to keeping the dog driving through the poles with their head down and working to complete them. A poor throw creates all sorts of crazy behaviours a ball thrown WAY UP in the air creates a dog looking back and as well lifting their head and potentially a “pop up” out of the last pole. A inefficient throw a long way away from your work (either / right or left or way beyond the reward line) affects your training efficiency. We found giving people clear direction on where the line was, and which way they were directing their training as well as direction on a) how to throw b) where to target the throw helped the dogs learn very quickly and that in one session the work would be predictable for the dog and make the training go forward exponentially. The reason for only going one way helped people be with clear with their training as they worked around the arc heading in one direction toward the reward line. This allows for systematically covering all the potiential entries and allowing for easy record keeping. The dog can always predict where the reward will land, the human can reward on that line and then transistion themselves back along the arc to carry on their training. Setting our environment for both the student and the dog creates a predictablity of the training help both student and dog push through the process. We are always grateful for students who ask great questions!


  4. Bonnie says:
    Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 10:04pm

    I had a student ask a very interesting question tonight and I wasn’t totally sure about the answer so I thought I would look into it some more. I don’t think it is really addressed in the DVD. The question is what is the advantage of having a set reward line and not changing it within the session. Given the clear directions in the DVD to establish a consistent reward line, I never even thought about changing it during a session. My student seemed to think that it shouldn’t matter to the dog if you changed the reward line, or for that matter, the angle of the poles (e.g. 8:00 and 2:00). I would appreciate any info.


    • Susan says:
      Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 9:06am

      Bonnie I have had my greatest success keeping that reward line constant. As a matter of fact in my most recent training of 2×2 I actually teach the reward line FIRST without any poles.


  5. Judy says:
    Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 8:13pm

    I am an agility beginner and came across your 2×2 DVD. The method looks wonderfully easy; however, I am having difficulties. After reading this blog, I can see several of my problems, one of which is that Flint is always watching me to see the toy coming. In this blog you suggest utilizing some “forward focus exercises.” Would you please describe these exercises? I’m familiar with “attention” exercises, but not the forward focus exercises.


    • Susan says:
      Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 1:56am

      @Judy, the focus forward exercise is described in my “one Jump” DVD.


  6. TheresAnPhoebE says:
    Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 12:20pm

    I have a really, really basic question. I have the April 2003 Clean Run that I have been saving until I got a dog that could do it. I finally got the dog, and want to do it right. We are starting out in the living room/hallway, and are “finding the gate”. My question is, do I need to pull her back and have her being “sent” to the gate, or does she get credit for going through the gate in either direction right now? I know that we will want her to go only one direction once we are further up, but for the very first steps do I reward her only as she is moving away, and just regroup when she comes back to me through the gate? Thanks.


    • Susan says:
      Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 12:59pm

      Theresa, that article was written when I first discovered the method (back in 2002) so it is very dated. You would save yourself a ton of frustration if you would buy the DVD. Then do a search on this blog, I have dedicated many blog posts complete with diagnostic video clips of training 2x2s. Please check them out!


  7. jrhandlersheltie says:
    Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 12:03pm

    2x2s are amazing!!! Thank you Susan for creating this program. My sheltie’s favorite obstacle is now the poles.


  8. Kathie says:
    Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 10:44am

    Is it Ok to train 2 x 2 weaves using a Manners Minder? It is a treat dispensor with an remote control to reward promply when preformed correct.


  9. Jenny Barr says:
    Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 12:14pm

    HELP please!
    My 15 month old BC has learnt to weave using the 2x2s. She gets lovely entries and can is learning to stay in the poles despite distractions. However, I am really struggling to get her to single step. I have used the “channel” method suggested on the DVD but she only single stepped once out of 12 goes (over 3 separate sessions). I have decided to keep working on entries and distractions to build her confidence and speed and will try again with the channel method in a couple of weeks. She has good body awareness but I will dig out the wobble board I used with her when she was younger. Any further suggestions welcome!


  10. Linda says:
    Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 7:37am

    Susan please help,

    Started the 2×2 weave a few weeks ago with my young patterdale and I love it. Only problem i have is now that we have great entries from the harder angles he seems a bit confused when I ask him for a straight entry and looks back at me for the toy or if I throw it any earlier he skips poles. We only have 4 poles up just now, should I just angle the entry again on straight entries to help him find it and then close it up again? (Just have to add his difficult entries are beautiful!)




  11. Blynn says:
    Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 3:14pm

    My young male I started with 2×2’s at 12 months and in 3 weeks we had it done!

    Very happy with his understanding of entrees at this point. We are conntinuing to work on single striding from beginning to end of the 12 poles.

    Doing the habitat work fromt eh get go was very instrumental in him understanding his job. Made home environment training much easier.

    Thanks BB


  12. Cathy says:
    Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 7:19am

    Amen , Susan. I’m a believer! I started my 19 mos old BC (my first),never taught 2×2’s, in my basement this winter after having achilles tendon surgery and still in a walking boot. We practiced about 10 minutes twice a day and not every day. In about 4 weeks , she was weaving 6 poles.She now consistently runs 12 poles. This past weekend we ran our first trial. We did not Q, but she ran her weaves perfectly! It is worth the money!


  13. agilitysheltie says:
    Monday, April 11, 2011 at 8:06pm

    2×2 seems like such a great training program!!!!! I’m eager to try it. But is it possible to learn 2×2 without buying the DVD? $70 is a lot to spend. Thanks, I am so excited to learn this method!


    • Susan says:
      Monday, April 11, 2011 at 8:20pm

      @Agilitysheltie with entries into a standard class running at $20 per run let me promise you that the $70 you will spend on this DVD will be paid for many times over before your dog’s agility career is over. Having said that, if you want to save money you can just buy the transcripts of the DVD (on my website ). However I am certain others will agree buying the DVD may be one of the best return on a $70 investment you will ever get!


  14. Nancy Bishop says:
    Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 10:12am

    I just trained my third dog with the 2X2 method. I can not tell you how pleased I am.
    He is fast reliable and id already doing hard entries from jumps and now we just added tunnels the other night at class.
    I was a bit hesitant about starting his 2X2 training as when we started he was just 13 months, a Golden retriever male. Not sure if all those turns were going to be okay on his body. then I figured he really wouldn’t be “weaving” for a while.
    He started his training saw his firs set of 2X2 Jan 26th, he started a full set of 12 weave poles Feb. 16th. So much for not weaving for awhile. I am now proofing his entries and working on his footwork, I am not weaving everyday as he is now almost 15 months, but he has got it.
    Will post video, of his session last week with his 90 degree jumps.


  15. Wendy says:
    Monday, January 31, 2011 at 7:20pm

    Oh, yes! The body motion – Kim is exactly right, that much body motion ensures that my dog looks to me to guide her through the whole process – I had to learn not to be so invested in the outcome, but to simply send and manage my body. Again, VERY hard for us newbie trainers to do!


  16. Wendy says:
    Monday, January 31, 2011 at 7:18pm

    Susan, thanks for this informative review of common training mistakes. When watching Steve, I felt painfully sympathetic, as I made several of these same mistakes. In particular, with a sheltie that already watches me incessantly, I kept feeding from the hand.

    I tried switching reward systems several times, but never found one that truly had enough value. A peanut butter filled tug-it got the best response, but I can’t use it everywhere (indoor trainers don’t appreciate peanut butter all over their mats!) and still, she looked for me to throw it.

    I’ve switched to food targets at the end of the weave poles, with an empty bowl inside the bowl that has the treat – that way she has to wait for me to get to her to get the treat out. This is causing her to drive forward to the treat and ignore the poles, so I’ve got her on a leash, guiding her through the weaves. I’m not thrilled with this method, but I think it’s the way forward with this particular dog after all my ingrained mistakes. I’ve already tried stopping, and waiting, and restarting after weeks off – she’s still too focused on my throw to look away, and uses it to signal the end of the weaving. And with the food targets, off lead, she just ignores the poles and runs to the targets.

    I don’t consider my failure a failure of your 2×2 method, but I do think that the first step of the training should be to learn to throw a toy, treat bag or whatever the reward is with such a low profile that the dog ignores your throw. I’ve watched you do it, Daisy Peel does it well in her running dogwalk videos, but us newbie trainers are all left thumbs and not that deft. If I’d taken the time to really figure out the reward system up front, I could have done my 12 days and succeeded.

    Thanks for these tips!



  17. Kim Collins says:
    Friday, January 28, 2011 at 6:59pm

    First of all I have to kudos to Steve’s DOG!!! Wow even with all the little errors and some confusion on the method that dog NEVER quit trying! A lot of dogs would have quit all together in the face of some of the mixed messages!So that is a testament to the relationship Steve has with that dog.

    So a couple other things I saw in Steve’s training was
    1)the rev up Go! command. I don’t like to say anything except after the reward ( praise and party), I find if you get a high dog driving at the 2×2’s on a big wild Go! cue it counteracts the job of breaking before the poles. Go! for my high dog is a definite DON’T BREAK cue which isn’t what I want at poles.

    2) when I add the second set of poles ( and this isn’t something Susan says in the DVD specifically so maybe she will not agree with this:o)) but the first 2 short sessions ( this should only take about 5 minutes total) I do when I add the second set of poles is to add them as an IYC game first. In other words I just put them out there as a distraction and see if my dogs can still find pole # 1/2 with the second set there. I don’t reward the second set ( but I reward in front of the second set on the reward line, between the two sets)until I can get at least 10 feet back on the arc and still have them go to pole # 1/2 with the second set out there.

    I only do 2 short sessions like this and then I start to rotate and face the second set as they make their entry to the first set of poles correctly ( by this time I am standing almost next to the second set when I send to the first set) so going to the second set is easy for them since I am now facing the second set.

    So this seems to dramatically reduce the amount of times my dogs “try” to skip the first set to get to the second set.And then I still reward the first set of poles periodically through out the working on the arc stage.

    3)I try to get my students to not “shape” the dog around them when sending to the poles which I see Steve doing a bit of. I want the dog to not rely on being “wound up” and let go when going to the poles. I just tug to where I want to send the dog from, rip the toy out of their mouth and let go, no verbal cue, no body motion. If I add body motion it is usually a “test” and an IYC game I am adding to the poles to make it harder.

    4) for the high dogs who are likely to skip poles ( which I do always have crop up with my really high dogs when training the 2×2’s ) I have started to throw the toy in between pole 2 and 3 occasionally once we get to 4 poles in a straight line, just to reinforce them for making that really hard bend. I have found that the 24″ poles are easier now and I don’t get those issues on them BUT I still train the whole method on on 21 inch poles to encourage that tight bend when they are learning.

    Ok so those are my observations other than the ones Susan pointed out! Hope they help. I love this method, have trained 5 dogs of my own on this method and use it in all our classes. I sold my chute poles and have never regretted it!

    Kim Collins


  18. Holly Press says:
    Thursday, January 27, 2011 at 8:23am

    What really helped me when I started trianing my dog the weaves poles was I watched the DVD twice, then each day before I went out and worked with my dog I reviewed the section that pertained to where I was in the 2×2 training. It is a lot to take in and that really seemed to work great for me. Thanks so much!


  19. Christy says:
    Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 1:18pm

    Iam training my 1 year old Border with the 2×2 weave method.Iam loving it,yes its easy to make mistakes when you train alone.I keep a log of each training session and have a video set up to see how we are progressing.In less then 30 minutes of training he is doing 6 poles with some tough entries .I know I use a egg timer so I dont go over 3 minute sessions.He looks for his entry and goes.
    Went to practice with my club last week and the young dog nailed his entry an did 12 poles with lots of distractions.
    Head down driving forward for his reward.
    Its a fun way to teach the weaves.Happy dog!!!!


  20. Shannon Kelly says:
    Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 2:08pm

    My husband retrained his 3-year-old BC with great results on 2x2s. I had a more difficult time trying to retrain my 5-year-old BC. Her poles were not super strong and I wanted to improve entries, and staying in the poles with distractions.

    My biggest problem was that even after I established the reward line each session for the 5-year-old, she would mostly continue to try to “weave” one set of 2x2s from the highest point in the arc. (She would enter from the close side and “weave”.) She could get all other entries, but if it looked like the start of a set of poles, she didn’t understand to go to the far side and go through the gate.

    After trying and problemsolving, it didn’t get better, so I decided to move on. When the 2x2s started to look more like poles, this wasn’t an issue anymore, so it seemed silly to obsess about the lack of understanding of the highest point of the arc on one or two 2×2 sets… although I would have liked to see her get that. But it seemed damaging to continue to work on this and withhold reinforcement, when what she was doing was not “incorrect” if she saw a set of weave poles out on course… it just wasn’t correct for this stage of 2×2 retraining. I would be interested to know if others have experienced this on a re-train, and if my thinking is flawed here.

    I love the method and love being able to practice entries on 2 or 4 poles, and we have seen really great improvements in performance. Looking forward to practicing some of advanced challenges, too!


  21. veronica says:
    Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 9:36am

    Big thankyou to Steve for sharing the videos for learning puposes.It made me take lots of notes and recap with our training.That being reminders of points of reinforcement,the importance of placement of reward and also how to transfer and utilise “value”.
    As for “weave pole discoveries”something really remarkable happened.
    I hadn’t done any weavepole training( 2×2 of course)for about 2 months.My 2 older and experienced dogs did well and had remembered as if it was yesterday.The younger one not so good.In fact was terrible.She had gone from near perfect weaving to missed entries “pole pop outs” and relentless barking.I was a bit shocked and had to call it a day (ie game over).It was back to wondering what was wrong.Had my dog forgot all she had learned and why? She had been doing really well ( DASH priciples were applied in the process).It was really disheartening when this happened.We had done so much work.I kept records and always referred back to the DVD’s and 2×2 work book.The success rate was between 80% and 100% before I increased the degree of difficulty.I gather what I thought was proofed was not.
    What was interesting was how quickly my dog recovered.
    I just went back to the beginning with the poles using the 2 “gates” 15 ft apart and everytime she got it right we just worked though the 2×2 program.
    So from a day of disaster it was back to success with acouple of sessions over the next 2 days.
    I don’t think i would get this result using other methods of training.The 2×2’s are so flexable because it incoperates so much reinforcement and allows easy transference of value.
    The other thing I decided to do was to set up a value testing sequence( noted from Susan’s camp) and see what happens.I also wanted To set my dog up for failure and see how she deals with it.(another thing I had learned from Susan’s work shop)
    In the past when the dog failed I don’t think I persevered long enough to wait for the dog to “figure” things out and get it right.I would just go lower the criteria then raise ” the Bar” again and move on.My intention was to retain my dogs confidence.
    Anyway it happened….amazing!
    I set up a small sequence to test the “value” and to see what happens when she failed.
    The test included a jump and a table aligned in a such a way that i was sure she would pop out of the weave poles.
    She did….I did nothing…did give her a verbal “opps” to mark the mistake…and gave her no reinforcement.
    She barked a couple of times (I did not react)then she looked back at the pole entry as if counting the poles to the one she popped out of then gave out a hugh squeally bark( weird sound) and dived back into the weave poles and completed the sequence.The object that was of most value to her was the table.I possitioned this at a difficult angle knowing that would put a lot of pressure on her moving through the weave poles to get there.
    Honestly, I have tested this “failure” thing a few times now and my dog(Sally)will figure it out,correct herself and in the process she glances at me( my dog has a really cheeky grin)then refocuses on her next task.
    Susan.Truely a beautiful moment.I felt my relationship with my dog had just moved to another level.
    Thank you for lessons.


  22. Gitte Hoffmeister says:
    Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 6:31am

    I was going to teach the weaves to my dad’s Sheltie. My dad participate in an agility class, and I am the one who will be competing with the dog.
    The dog was not clicker trained before starting the 2 x 2 training.
    Therefore i started to shape her to go in to a box. The next day i started with session 1 in the 2×2 training.
    16 days after the dog weaved 12 poles. And it was in a different place and with my dad as the handler. He has not participated in the training.
    I had some problems because i was using poles without metal strip in the start. It was strange for the dog when we started with the regular weavepoles with metal strip.
    Here some of the videos


  23. dawn says:
    Monday, January 17, 2011 at 12:42pm

    As a total newbie to agility and dog training, I am so happy with my boys weaves. He gets his entries and single steps through them. It doesn’t matter which end of the 12 poles I send him to, he gets it. I loved the DVD and we are doing lots of proofing. Others say, wow, he does really hard entries. Thanks to 2x2s.


  24. Cathy says:
    Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:14am

    Susan , please, I am currently training my 19 mos BC on 2×2’s (first time) and she is doing very well, love the method, sure beats the channel method! One question, all the video’s show starting at the same end of the poles. Is it okay to alternate the ends of the poles that you start from??? In other words, work the arch on both ends of the poles???


    • Susan says:
      Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:19am

      @Cathy. Do not work both end of the poles until you are up to at least 6 poles. I actually don’t do much until my dog is at 12 poles as I do not want to confuse the dog wrt which end I am ending them towards.


      • Cathy says:
        Monday, January 17, 2011 at 11:50am

        I am just now starting 6 poles, will only work one end until we go to 12, thanks for the help.

  25. Minna says:
    Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 4:21pm

    I have trained my youngest dog Kuula(bc)with 2X2s and also retrained my older dog Tykki (bc), also my friend retrained her young sheltie and bc with us and I couldn´t be happier about the results 🙂

    Kuula has started to compete and is doing amazing weaves, not only entries but also staying in the poles in competions, Tykki has made only one mistake in entries in competition since the retraining, comparing to almost a mistake per run before.

    The biggest bonus is that I just love to train 2X2s and my dogs love it too 😀

    Thank you so much Susan!!!

    Minna and bc´s Ruuti, Tykki & Kuula from Finland


  26. Gemma says:
    Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 3:52pm

    I just wanted to say Thanks. I have just trained my 17 month pup using the 2×2 method and the results are amazing. I used channels before and wasn’t happy with my dogs understanding of entries, my pup has such huge value in his entries that he will twist himself inside out to hit them. How odd, but awesome to have a baby dog that understands its entries better than maybe 90% of agility dogs in the country!

    Thanks again for sharing your method,


  27. Trudie says:
    Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 3:44pm

    I agree Jane and it makes me think of the old saying “you get what you pay for” – being inquisitive, asking someone whose opinion you respect and following the advice, investing in good dvd’s…
    I am amazed how many people aren’t willing to ask or, worse, people who ask for advice then for some reason don’t invest themselves in it.

    I admire the Steve and Balto story, a great success story.


  28. Jane Harding says:
    Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 2:42pm

    I did appreciate your comment about U-tube 2×2 videos. I had tried referring a friend to go and look on U-tube, but when I went there myself and saw some of the “adaptions” to Susan’s method I realized I was doing them a great disfavor. I told them BUY the DVD – it’s the best thing you can do and WATCH it VERY carefully, repeating again and again the hard bits so you really understand the progression. My Pippin weaves so fast that I get compliments on her weaves and I get asked how did I train them – of course, Susan’s 2X2 – FROM THE DVD – and Pippin is not a BC, but she’s darn fast at weaves!


  29. Helen Verte says:
    Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 2:13pm

    Thank you Susan, Steve and Balto for sharing this post and the journey towards the 12-weave pole obstacle. It’s motivated me to go back to finish what I started with the 2×2 process. I let the fact that my dogs don’t tug discourage me from moving ahead, but I see from the video food works for Balto. I need to find the right treat that’s easy to throw, find and doesn’t leave crumbs. I’ve also been working on tugging with my Dobie Raven, so maybe she is ready to accept play as a reward. I will also stick to watching Susan’s video as my examples. Some of the YouTubes on 2×2 training can lead a person astray and so can creative teachers. I used clicking for a bit, but found out it’s better not to, and it’s not used on the video. I am training my first competitive agility dogs, and doing it from my back yard mostly. I will narrow my focus and stick to the facts on Susan’s 2×2 video. This post has put the spark back into me about getting back out there to do 2×2 weave pole training. Thank you! 🙂


  30. joR says:
    Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 6:57am

    A big thank you to Steve for allowing Susan to share his journey. How brave and what a good student.

    I used the 2 x 2 weave method with my dog Del. We used the method prior to the DVDs release and so my interpretation/understanding of the notes was not as good as it could have been. Once we had the DVD I was able to fix a few little problems that I had because I had not followed the method to the letter and because my record keeping was not as good as it should have been (bad student). Once I attended to these issues I have a little dog who loves weaving, weaves quickly and I dont have to fuss over weave entries in competition. I cant wait to teach my next dog who will benifit from the lessons I learnt with Del and the WONDERFUL DVD AND THE NOTES THAT CAME WITH IT.


  31. Jaime Theobald says:
    Sunday, January 16, 2011 at 12:11am

    I love the 2 x 2 method! To me it is just magical! How the dog just learns to weave as if by magic. I admit, I re-read the notes and watched the applicable section of the DVD over again between almost every training session, to make sure I wasn’t making any of the mistakes mentioned, and to make sure I was doing the essential elements correctly. And I could never have trained this method without the DVD, having read about it earlier, I did not understand the importance of the reward line, for example.

    When I first started trialing with my cocker Tiger, I was so very pleased that I could send him from anywhere, and he could find the entry. I never took him to the entry, it was really great!

    However, it was so magical and so neat, that I never really finished the method. (Yes, I have a weakness, I am a lazy trainer.) I didn’t work the method enough on 12 poles. I didn’t take the method on the road enough. I didn’t work the footwork enough (open channel for footwork). And I didn’t proof Tiger enough to stay in the poles despite distractions.

    Then I went for 2 months with no agility training at all. And when I came back to it, Tiger had completely forgotten how to enter. I was devistated! So I starting managing his entries when we showed. Then we started doing the 24″ wide poles. And Tiger loved the spacing so much that he refused to weave the smaller spacing any more. So then he started popping out when we did some small spacing. And suddenly we developed a popping out problem. Uggghh! Suddenly I was finding myself fighting the weave pole stress thing (in me, not in Tiger), that I was soooo very proud to not have when I first “completed” the 2 x 2 method.

    So, I realized 2 things. One, I had to start all over with the 2 x 2 method and re-teach the entries to Tiger. And two, I need to work through the whole program. Increasing the value for the poles. Working on Tiger’s foot work. And definitely working through the proofing game, so he fights to stay in, and learns to be proud that he can do it no matter what happens.

    I feel bad, feeling like I’m giving the 2 x 2 method a bad name, due to my laziness in not completing the program. Because I totally love the method!

    So far, I have started the reteach of 2 x 2s, and in doing so seen him understanding entries again. Got back to 12 poles quickly, and was just beginning working on the footwork and the proofing, when the snow hit, so no training now for a few weeks.

    Any advice for me? Anyone know why Tiger “forgot” how to do entries? Is it just because I didn’t work enough on 12 poles? Or because I started to “manage” his entries, so didn’t keep challenging him to find them?

    Hope I can keep the game fun enough for him as I work through the proofing stage, and build enough value and understanding so the popping problem goes away.

    I love the method, and have been kicking myself for awhile now, knowing that I skipped the latter parts of the program…
    Jaime Theobald and the black cocker trio in Kansas City


  32. Jill says:
    Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 8:44pm

    I just want to say how much I appreciate all the work you have put into developing the 2 x 2 method. It has done wonders for my little pap who learned to weave first with me dancing her through the poles while she looked at me. (When I look back I don’t know how she got through them without running into one of the poles) Now I have a little dog weaving independently an looking ahead. I am just now finishing with my toy aussie. Two of my friends are also working their young dogs using this method and are having great success. Thanks for sharing.


  33. Christine says:
    Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 3:10pm

    Thanks for sharing this video, I’m pleased to see I captured the key areas that you mentioned.

    I find the timing very appropriate as I am debating when to start my boy on the 2×2 method and even though we are at the ‘appropriate age’ I will wait until I can get back outside where I can train consistantly as the training really does go quickly when done correctly.

    We recently worked the 2×2 through in a class setting that myself and another taught and found the following observations:
    1.) Dogs that did not have a history of shaping had alot of difficulty as they didn’t have a background in working through failure. These dogs stopped and sniffed, would disengage and took weeks longer to get through what others breezed through.

    2.) Those that took the time to spray paint out on the grass the reward line at class and at home had much higher success as they had a very clear visual for their reward line. Those teams were on upright poles quite quickly.

    3.) Keeping these short, fast and fun. We timed the sessions to ensure folks did not get tempted to do just a bit more. Transitions in and out were just as exciting.


  34. Andrea says:
    Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 11:00am

    I encourage everyone who is going to be training a new dog or is not happy with their current weaves to try this method. It is unbeleivable to see how easily the dogs get it when trained correctly and even better is how much they truly end up loving the weave poles.

    My dog runs pretty quiet on course but there is one obstacle that will bring out little squeals of joy and that’s the weaves. Now I’m sure I could get rid of that if I wanted to but I don’t I love that she tells me she loves them and I love watching her nail an entry, get nice and low, power through them with her rear and keep on going no matter where I’m heading off to.

    I know on this blog it may be preaching to the choir so to speak but if anyone is reading wondering if maybe they should try 2x2s, I say do it, pay close attention to the DVD and what Susan is saying and doing and you will have amazing weaves in a very short time!


  35. Melissa Davis says:
    Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 10:14am

    Wonderful brilliant method Susan!

    I trained my first dog with 2×2’s last summer. She used to be very low drive and unconfident. I had trouble trying to motivate her with food and she absolutely would not tug on a toy. She is very clever it was just hard to get her to work. New places were always very stressful to her. I struggled just getting her to do simple behaviors like sit and down in new places. 2×2’s were a breakthrough!!!! Thank you! She is becoming the dog I knew she could be. Aside from learning to weave brilliantly I learned how to motivate her and transfer value. The DVD gave insight to more than just weave training.

    I now have a dog that works and learns in new environments. She tugs now in most environments. She weaves beautifully in a one-step fashion. This is my third agility dog and I have always had dogs that stress over weaves in trials. I am happy to say that this dog’s very first trial (remember this was an unconfident dog to begin with) saw the weaves and couldn’t wait to get in them!

    Thank you Susan!



  36. June says:
    Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 7:41am


    Just read the blog and watched some of the videos. I thought the first video showed the beginning of the end so clearly it was scary. Glad it has all worked out really good in the end.
    I have a 2 yr old dog who I trained via 2 x 2 method for the first time and I was amazed at the brilliant results. I train with a group of people who have been running their dogs for 5 years and my dogs weave entries beat their senior dogs hands down.
    I thought when I trained my young dog the reason she was so good was luck or something I just couldnt believe it could be so easy (Took me 13 days as I messed up one days training – The 13 days training I did covered a 5 – 6 week period with a 4 wk break at one point due to weather conditions)
    I was really curious to see if the success with my own dog was a fluke so I enlisted the aid of my dogs litter brother and trained him. This proved more difficult, not due to the method, because the dog had had not been shaped with a strong desire to interactive play. This dog also has a great weave now.
    I personally have found that it is also essential that the handler must have the correct thought process to succeed. People want the results I have got but cant grasp the concept I have a Trigger (Guess what course I have done?) H.P.D.C. Training
    (Handler Patience Dog Choice Training)
    I have trained and used all different types of weave training methods and would never consider training anything other than 2 x 2 in the future.
    Sorry for the length of post but I was on a roll and I cant stress enough how fabulous this method is – I love it.
    I have also found that this method of training has really supported by Distance work in my dogs agility training, especially in Contacts She just takes me being away from her as normal – just like her weave.


  37. Anne says:
    Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 1:23am

    I trained my young Parson Russell Terrier using the 2×2 method — referring to my DVD before each training session. I now call myself a 2×2 evangelist. This is the first dog I’ve trained using 2x2s and I doubt I’ll ever train weaves using another method.

    My youngster is hitting entrances and weaving with the speed, form, and forward drive that took my older dogs years to learn.

    She exhibits great understanding of the entrances, as well as the rest of the poles.

    I, too, took time off in her early training because I could see that her lack of a solid retrieve was going to slow down the training. After a month we were back to it and I was amazed at how quickly she progressed from there.

    I can’t recommend it highly enough.


  38. Penny Mead says:
    Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 1:03am

    My Border Terrier pup Tiger, turned one year of age at about the time that Susan was here in Australia last year. My plan was to start him on 2x2s pretty soon after getting home from camp. Not having trained a dog this way before I thought I would get it all straight in my mind before starting out. Well, Tiger and I learned some different (and incredibly important) lessons at camp that told me we weren’t ready for weave training. There were lots of light bulb moments for me (though sometimes the light bulb didn’t go on straight away!!!) So, since camp there has been lots more shaping …. with me learning to move things along (not just look for an excuse to feed the dog) and Tiger learning to fail along the way. Once I thought we were ready, we started … and I am thrilled that we are both doing brilliantly with our 2x2s … day 9 had Tiger on 6 straight up poles all around the arc!! It absolutely amazes me how he collects for the difficult entries!!! And we have DASH!!!! I am totally gobsmacked that I have done a great job!!!

    Penny and Tiger
    Sydney, Australia


    • Lynda Orton-Hill says:
      Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 10:26pm

      Penny brings up a important part of the process…

      D.A.S.H !!!! Human and Dogs

      It helps the process from 2 to 12 poles !!!!

      Always fun when the human gets excited with the process!



    • Susan Hollow says:
      Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 12:54am

      Is 2×2 really that much better than the channel method? That is how I taught my last two cavaliers (who weave perfectly) but I have a new one just turned 12 months and I don’t know which way to go.. It was years ago I last taught weaving and I see it now as such a huge hurdle! 2×2 sounds a lot quicker to train but sounds more involved. I am tempted to try something new, though! My new cavalier is very toy & food orientated & adores agility! What do people think?
      Susan Hollow
      Penrith Australia


  39. Jenn says:
    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 10:59pm

    Thank you Steve and Balto!


  40. Mary M says:
    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 8:37pm

    Love 2X2’s, great work Steve, and way to take time off and re-work the skills!!!

    Need to think about rewarding on my body as well, I didn’t begin training this way but have gone to it when adding handling, wondering if this would be a problem….

    Any thoughts about consistently having difficulty with the entry on the right side of the poles (meaning dog on left arm pulling into the weave entry…..wish I could draw this out to explain better). Both my dogs have more difficulty with this then with really tough entrances on the other side….how did I create that issue?



    • Trudie says:
      Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 4:55am

      This interesting because with 2×2 my dog definitely has more difficulty on this side too.
      I wonder — because before 2×2 training, with dog on left, the entry seemed “easier” – we were told your body placement should “guide” the dog into the poles ! And by the same token, it seemed the entry with dog on right was “harder”.
      With 2×2 training dog on right my dog nails the “wrap around” every time. With dog on left he makes mistakes entering at pole 2 or 3 and my only solution has been to try to set this up often so he has to think about the choice.
      So I’d really like to hear what others have to say on this.


      • Trudie says:
        Saturday, January 15, 2011 at 5:00am

        P.S. I’m sure I got your “picture” right,in other words I meant “dog on left” to mean “dog on left arm” and “on right side of the poles” as you said…

  41. Laura says:
    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 8:27pm

    I remember watching agility for the first time and seeing the dogs do the weaves and thinking that was so great especially the handlers who didnt have to be right by their dogs.I got my very first dog to train in agility and after seeing in class that they were using their hands to go back and forth between each pole to train the weaves I knew I had to find another method.Came across 2×2 online, ordered it, watched it more than once, took notes(somehow I didnt know about a training book)watched it again whenever I felt I wasnt getting it, kept notes of our progress and in 15 days my dog was weaving!! Loved working all the proofing.I know my dog can get the entrances that will come our way. Thank-you!


  42. brittsdeux says:
    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 7:31pm

    As a novice handler/trainer, thanks a LOT Steve for sharing. I’ve been there and loved to see you ask for help and work through it. Thanks also to Susan and all of our coaches who never abandon us during our training struggles and plateaus! Our dogs learn much faster than we do for sure and are much easier to teach. I’m confident that my pups sure appreciate our coaches for helping the human half of the team keep up with canine half’s wicked smart learning everything at the speed of light! These darn dogs are too quick and point out my mistakes if I pay attention! Luckily, the very first thing my pups taught me — to laugh!


  43. Dana Gill says:
    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 5:21pm

    I was going to train Envy’s weaves last January as my “winter project” in my basement (we had 3 feet of snow on the ground.) I watched the DVD on the way home from a New Year’s Agility Trial, printed the Workbook and was ready to get started Monday morning.

    Well, so much for my “winter” project — she was weaving 12 poles with every entrance I could throw at her in only 8 days!

    She turned 2 years old today and hands down, the weaves are her favorite obstacle! She drives so hard for the entrances I fear for the safety of anyone who gets in her path and plows through them like her pants are on fire!

    LOVE the 2x2s — thanks SG for all that you have contributed to my training curriculum as well as the sport of agility!


  44. Deb says:
    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 2:47pm

    I want to take a second to thank not only Susan for her incredible advice to Steve….but also to Patty Grabow for her unending patience and grace in sticking with Steve through thick and thin til this weaving thing came together. She is an incredible training partner and never gave up on Steve and Balto. Patty is always quick with words of encouragement when friends are experiencing failure. She deserves huge KUDOS from all of those lucky enough to work with her!! 🙂


  45. Trudie says:
    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 1:22pm

    One suggestion of Susan’s on the dvd which I found really helpful when I was starting out with the 2×2 : in order to visualize where to throw the reward and note in each session where I was working the arc :take a can of spray paint (it won’t wreck your yard you can get pink fluo it washes off in the rain) and mark out your reward line – and your arc! You have to change your location frequently, so just spray again! I also used chalk on a cement surface.
    Thanks for a great post. A great reminder.


  46. Kathy says:
    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 12:17pm

    I just finished teaching my newest dog 2×2 weaving and I had seen your advice to Steve earlier on an email list, I was already half way through the process but I reviewed my videos and made sure I was following the points you have said, and during the process it was so great to have the dvd because even though this was not the first time I have taught weaves with the 2×2 the last time I taught them was when the dvd first came out. Well, this go around was sooooo easy and so wonderful, because I really tried to pay attention to the smaller points, I had been videoing our sessions and when I sat down to edit into one video to show off our progress to our friends 😉 it was sooo amazing and so fun to see how it all was taught so quickly and easily. Now we are starting on the proofing exercises and I am just so grateful you had such comprehensive instructions-between the ebook, the hints from your training list, and the DVD, I could easily find the answer to any question-which is great when you are training the weaves by yourself.


  47. Donna says:
    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 10:00am

    I love these blogs! And your training methods. Thinking dogs making choices. Shaping Success and Crate Games have been great starting tools and once the snow leaves I’ll begin 2×2 weaving. For now I’m building my foundation of knowledge and that’s why I love these blogs.


  48. Karen M says:
    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 8:36am

    We had this discussion at club about 2 x 2 weave pole training where one instructor said he insisted on 100% perfection from his dog before moving on, lots of small training sessions with a break in between. I agree more with your “progress not perfection’. Have found this works so well even in other disciplines. Agree with denise about the reward line. Also how many ‘obedience’ dogs (loosely termed) do you see that stare at the handler’s eyes instead of keeping their eye on the job when it comes to doing agility?


    • Karen M says:
      Friday, January 14, 2011 at 8:39am

      Oh and how good was Steve baring himself to allow us to benefit from his videos?


  49. denise says:
    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 8:09am

    Well done Steve and Balto!! It’s great to see that Steve took your free advice in a positive manner and made the necessary changes.

    I love 2 x 2’s…. I taught my dog to weave beautifully with speed and enthusiasm in 2 weeks. Your DVD explains the method so beautifully and it really is very, very easy to follow. The accompanying notes are an added bonus!

    I’ve noticed that the single biggest mistake people seem to make is not respecting the importance and value of the reward line. The next biggest is not progressing, they stay at one stage for way too long. You emphasise the importance of avoiding these things on the DVD so it’s obviously not the method but rather the application of the method.


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