Working those weaves…

So, like I mentioned before, weave entries are on the “list” of things that Ticket needs to improve on.  She’s pretty good in general, but she doesn’t really seek out the weave entry.  She also has a hard time doing a 90 degree approach and wrapping that first pole–she tends to go in at pole 2.  The WT Tryouts courses this weekend did nothing if not illustrate the importance of rock solid weave entries, no matter how difficult.  In the scheme of things, a much easier skill to teach then jumping, handling, etc.

Ticket was taught to weave on channels, and I love her weave poles.  She drives through them, she doesn’t pop out, she lets me do what I want when she’s in them.  But channels aren’t the greatest for teaching entries, and I’ve been lax in doing the work needed there, since we don’t see a whole lot of truly difficult weave entries.  So I decided to go back and work entries, using Susan Garrett’s 2×2 method.  I actually did a little bit of this when Ticket was younger, but I didn’t follow through with it, and we never moved past one set of 2x2s.  I am no 2×2 expert–this is the first and only dog I’ve ever used them with, as I’ve been happy with my dogs’ weave pole performance.  But I’ve been told by many people that this method creates great understanding for entries, so I decided to give it a go.

Unlike the first time, where I was really “whatever about it, this time, I have purpose.  She’s going to be able to hit any entry I throw at her.  So, over the last week, I’ve been working through the 2x2s.  I started with one set, added the second set, and then started rotating them and moving them closer together.  All of this is outlined in SG’s awesome 2×2 DVD, so if you’re interested, there’s your guide.

Watching the video, I see mistakes I make.  While I “know” where the reward line is, I suck at throwing along it.  My sessions are too long.  And I’m not good at letting Ticket work through mistakes.  Though, the reason for that is Ticket seems to start to pattern herself incorrectly.  Once she starts to do the wrong approach, she has a hard time breaking out of it.  And even when I move back to one we were successful with before, she may still continue to make the same mistake.  So I now tend to take a step back quickly to where we were successful before then upping the challenge again.  But watching yourself really illustrates how useful video can be in your training.  You may think you’re doing one thing, but something else entirely is happening.

I also noticed at the last stage on this video, where the poles were the closest together and the closest to straight (but still offset), that Ticket began making the same mistake she makes in competition.  She would skip the entrance, and take the second “gate” she saw instead.  The 2×2 method will definitely let me work through this, and hopefully increase her understanding of what she needs to do to collect her body to nail the entry.

I hope my next weave entry will be Ticket nailing ridiculous entries from anywhere.  Happy Training! 🙂


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