Milo and the Ultimate Weave Pole Challenge

30 Jan 2005Steve Schwarz

Nancy Reyes, owner of the For Your Canine training facility in Schiller Park, IL, sponsored a Clean Run Ultimate Weave Pole Challenge today. As it’s name implies, the Ultimate Weave Pole Challenge times dogs through 60 weave poles with the fastest dog in each height division winning. An overall winner is also announced. I’d guess about 50 dogs were entered.

I was a little stunned when I walked into the building and saw that the 5 sets of 12 poles each had to be setup on a diagonal to fit into the building. The distance between poles is ~20 inches making a total of 100 feet of weave poles. I was hoping to get a whole view of the setup but it was pointless without a wide angle lens.

When I signed up for the Challenge I figured Milo had a chance of completing all 60 weave poles. He has an interesting personality when it comes to any task. He can be a little bit of a “Worrier”; he wants to make sure he does the “right thing”. But he also takes comfort in doing tasks where he knows he’s doing the right thing. So he does love contacts and weaves where I’ve rewarded him lavishly.

When it comes to weaving Milo is a proficient weaver. Watching him weave you’d probably say he is fast; but you won’t say “Wow” like you might for some dogs. I’m to blame for that; he has plenty of drive through the poles but I started him on spring based weave poles - they hadn’t been removed in most venues when we started training. So he learned to just plow straight down the poles and push them out of the way with his shoulders. While it has been years since he’s seen them, Milo can occasionally get his shoulder “hung up” on a pole and have it throw him out of his rhythm. He won’t skip the pole though, just change his stride.

Milo and I had never seen more than 12 weave poles in a row before. The rules of the Challenge allow you two practice attempts and a single timed official attempt. So we took our two attempts; with me handling once on each side. To my delight Milo didn’t hesitate at any point in the weaves. He just charged ahead. It was only at the very end where he popped the last two poles… both times. I tried especially hard to not change my pace or my focus as we reached the end, but I’m sure I had to look up to see where the timer lights were so I wouldn’t break the beam myself (that would be a disqualification for the official run). That is likely what threw him off; he was looking for me to indicate him the next obstacle.

So it was with some trepidation that we took the line for our official attempt. And what do you know? Milo did it! Here’s the video from the start line:

There were a fair number of dogs that completed all the weaves. Of special note was Anna Ogawa and her fast and powerful Doberman Pinscher, Rommel, who - not unlike his namesake(?) - just attacks the weave poles and leaves them bent in his wake. He had the fastest time of the day; 14.5 seconds - it was something to see.

So I was pretty happy that Milo had a clean run and stuck around to get his “Q” ribbon. The second surprise of the day was that our 16.39 second time was good enough for 3rd place in the “Maxi” height division. We were right between Sue Rolek’s Elan and Anthony Montagano’s Chaz (both Border Collies). I was so stunned by our 3rd place finish I didn’t hear who won 1st place!

So I guess next time there is a Challenge around here again we’ll give it a try. Who knows Milo could be faster outside on grass…

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