Let's talk about all the different skills that make weave pole training MUCH easier:
Having clear cues for how and where the reward will be delivered helps the dog mentally let go of where the reward is before they start, making it easier for them to weave under reinforcement distractions. Reinforcement strategies that I use in weave pole training include:
Click + Deliver
My “click” is my freebie marker. I can use it to deliver in ANY way, but I will maintain that way for the entire training session. For starting weave training, it's click –> deliver to pre-placed bowl.
During my capturing phases and then later, the proofing phases, I use a pre-loaded dish at the end of the weaves.
*Gasp* Sometimes, I reward directly from my hand.
I also use toys, if that's a reinforcer for the dog I'm working with, so I will need all of these skills in toy form as well!
Loopy Training Mechanics
Good mechanics and clean loops leaves every moment of your training session clear and accounted for. No wasted time or energy from the dog, and once you get into a nice rhythm, you'll find your training sky rockets.
Pre-loaded Dish Loop
Click + Deliver Loop
Turning in circles not happening? Here's a variation you can train:
This isn't the most popular opinion, but you need some type of stationary behavior. It can be an actual sit/down/stay stay. It can be a station/platform/mat stay. I'm not picky about what it looks like, but you do need to be able to leave your dog somewhere, move to another location, and then release them to weave.
It's much easier for a verbal cue to be paired with the weaves, if both you and the dog can be still and wait for the cue. Having an independent verbal cues makes adding distractions to your behavior much easier, because the dog can ignore the distractions (hint: you are a distraction) and just listen for instructions.
If you are thinking about starting your weave training, check these skills first. They'll help you a LOT… not just for weave pole training, either 😀
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