Q. First of all what about those 24″ spaced poles? Now that the AKC and the USDAA have gone to 24″ spaced poles . . . what you didn’t hear that the USDAA listened to our survey and changed their regs? Well maybe it hasn’t exactly happened that way yet, but I am a big believer in the power of visualization so lets all keep me happy in my bubble shall we? So in my world where everyone is at 24″ spacing what would I do?
A. I dunno. Seriously I don’t think there is a cut and dried, right or wrong answer. I think for those dogs that like to wildly “blither” at the poles keeping your smaller 2×2 spacing during your training is a good thing (the 20″ poles would work perfectly). It will make the dog exaggerate his collection and bend back for the 3rd pole. However, for other, more thoughtful dogs, bigger space of the 24″ 2×2′ spacing will allow a freer motion so they can be faster soon. So (I know our weave pole suppliers are gonna love me saying this) for now, I will have both. I will likely do most of my training on the tighter spaced poles, but I can see your point if you just want to go to the 24″ ones. I a few years maybe there will be a “correct” answer to this question but right now I don’t think there is one.
Q. When do you add the weave cue?
A. I don’t think there is any rush to add a cue. The only time it is really necessary to have a cue is when you are standing motionless (like at a party when you want to show off or in a gamble class). At any other time, if you have done your job training the 2×2’s properly, Pavlov should be nicely taking over any time your dog sees those poles. With the poles in your dog’s eye line he should be hearing them screaming out his name with the accompanied phrase “DO ME!”. The actual permission for the dog to do them, is your motion towards those poles. So even in training, once you have added distance be sure to add at least one step towards the poles so the dog knows it is ok to leave your motionless body and drive ahead without you. Once your dog is brilliant with his weave pole performance, — in that you CAN NOT get him to miss any approach and I mean he gets it the first attempt, every time, then it is time to add a cue.
Today I am grateful for indoor heating in our building, otherwise today’s clinic would be more than uncomfortable in the -13 C temperature.