Zap & the weaves
Two trials, ten runs and only once has Zap completed the weaves.
The weaves gave Zap a lot of trouble when I first tried to teach him how to weave. Although I have done tons of body awareness training with Zap, organizing his body in the weaves wasn't easy for him. I didn't care much about the rhythm he used as long as a weaved.
The method I used was Susan Garrett's 2x2 method which has a lot of good qualities regarding entries. The dogs learns from early on how to collect their bodies around the first pole and hit the entry. That is a big plus, but I don't think the method teaches the dog to weave with a consistent and fast rhythm.
I have proofed Zap's weaves in any possible way I could think of:
- Handler motion: like running ahead, running backwards, every thinkable cross at the entry or exit
- Distractions like toys, tunnels other dogs etc
One thing I have not done is proofing the weaves in a stressed environment like that of a trial. What a stupid mistake to make!
Why does the problem occur now and not during the last competition season?
Zap has really kicked it into gear this time around. Last year he ran the courses pretty fast, but I think Zap has gotten nitrogen installed over the winter. At trials he presses the nitrogen release button and takes off. Kind of like The Fast and the Furious although it sometimes feels like Too Fast, too Furious. This combined with the lack of proofing leads to Zap struggling with the weaves at trials. His jumping stile weaving can't keep up with his increased speed. He sometimes tries to alternate his rhythm to a mix of jumping and single stepping but fails.
So what to do?
The most logic thing to do is proof the weaves in a trial-like environment - easy thing to do. But I would really like Zap to single-step through the weaves - it would fit his long body so much better, plus it will adjust better to increased speed.
I ordered 12 stick-in-ground poles this week, and hopefully they will arrive soon. The reason for doing this is, that I can use the poles to retrain Zap to single step by using the V-method or channel method - haven't decided yet. Once the new rhythm is establish the stick-in-ground poles are easy to transport and I can therefore proof the weaves in all kinds of environments. SMRT ;o)