Weave Pole Entrance Challenges

02 Sep 2007Steve Schwarz

After writing up my definitions of On and Off Side Weave Entries I started to think about what might make a really difficult weave entry and handling challenge. I came up with four approaches to work on and sequences for working on these challenges.

The Challenges

It seems to me the most challenging weave entrances occur when the handler and dog are moving along the axis of the weave poles from the middle of the weaves toward the weave entrance. These can be made more difficult by having the handler switch to the opposite side of the weaves after the dog enters the weaves. Since the dog can be on either side of the handler for both On Side and Off Side entrances there are four possible entrances:

Weave Pole Challenge - Off Side EntranceWeave Pole Challenge - On Side Entrance

Obviously you can work on these entrances with only your dog and some weaves. I tried them with Meeker and he did quite well on most of them. The Off Side entrance with him on my left was the hardest for him (shown on the left in green above). Similarly, the On Side entrance with him on my left (shown on the right in green above). In both cases he was fine with the beginning of the Rear Cross Rear CrossLearning the Rear Cross and got into the poles, but when he saw me move behind him to complete the cross he would either pop out or turn in the weaves and back weave to the entrance. He is fine with the Rear Cross on the entry with a less sharp angle to the weaves. So we have work to do…

I should mention you don’t need to use a full set of 12 poles to do these drills. A set of 6, or even better an odd number, are also good to practice with. As with all tricky sequences like these you don’t want to drill them over and over. Also once you are successful working with only the weaves you might want to add some obstacles into the mix.

Short Obstacle Sequences

I created some sequences using a few jumps around the weaves to show these skills “in action”. The red circles are for handling with the dog on the handler’s right at the approach to the weaves (red for right) and the green circles are for handling with the dog on the left at the approach to the weaves.

Here’s what I was thinking when planning these courses to make them challenging:

  • By varying the jump locations the dog's approach to the weaves can be changed all the way to a very shallow angle; eventually so the dog makes a nearly 180 degree turn to the first pole.
  • The handler is required to cross the weave entry to get to the other side for the next obstacle.
  • Some dogs won't finish the weaves unless the handler is with them to the end.
  • The rest of the course is very difficult if the handler tries to follow the dog down the weaves. If you can get to the end of the weaves with your dog I'd encourage you to imagine that this is part of some evil gamble and you aren't allowed to go to the end of the weaves.

I haven’t put any dimensions on the obstacles since I don’t want to make the setups overly tight; adjust the distances according to you and your dog’s abilities. The challenges should be based on the dog’s approach and handler location, not on putting dogs into short jump to weave distances. Some of the challenge of these setups is to be able to handle them from both ahead and behind your dog. So to keep from getting too far ahead of your dog I’d practice these all without a Lead Out.

I think a judge would be in mortal peril if they tried to put something like these in a course. But I thought it was a fun training challenge. Let me know what you think.

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