Weave Poles are the hardest event for a dog to master, so most trainers have their own set at home. The method you use to train your dog is entirely up to you, but I recommend you try a couple of different ones to see which is the best for you and your dog.
Through the years a number of weave pole training methods have been introduced, Channel Weaves, Weave-A-Matic or WAM and Weave Pole Guide Wires, all of which produce various results in individual dogs. The end result depends solely on the amount of time and energy the trainer is willing to invest.
Channel Weave Method
The “channel method” is gaining popularity. This is a great method for those dogs that just can’t grasp the concept of the agility weave poles. Two parallel rows of weave poles are put side by side, but offset in such a way that the dog has a wide square center “channel” to run down. The poles rotate on the base, so you start with a channel and then slowly swivel the poles towards the center as your dog improves. At first your dog is not weaving he is just running through to the other end like an open tunnel. By slowly, inch-by-inch, bringing the poles closer together, your dog will begin to weave without even knowing it! If you are patient and don’t rush the channel process, your dog will come to “understand” weaving and be less apt to miss poles in the future!
Weave-A-Matic or WAM Method
This method is very similar to the Channel method. The main difference is, instead of a wide square channel at the base of the weaves, there is a narrower “V” channel your dog will have to run through. As with the Channel method, the poles are slowly brought back to vertical as your dog learns what he is suppose to do. The WAM method is fine for most dogs, but some might feel a bit claustrophobic in the narrower space and not perform as well.
Weave Pole Guide Wires
Weave Pole Guide Wires will help if your dog is having some trouble learning the Agility Weaves or is just starting to learn.
Guide Wires are an essential part of the training, making it easier, faster, more fun and a lot less frustrating for both you and your dog. The Weave Pole Guide Wires simply show your dog the correct way through the weaves by creating a “tunnel” effect through the event. With the wires at eye level for your dog, he will naturally try to avoid them, taking the path of least resistance thus learning to weave without realizing he is learning to weave. Once the Weave Guides are removed he will continue to weave naturally, but, if needed, the Guide wires can be easily brought back for a quick refresher.
Stick-in-the-ground Weave Poles
If you only own a set of Stick-in-the-Ground Weave Poles, you can try all of the above training methods. This set comes with a “spacer stick” to get the correct spacing of the poles, so, you could, with a bit of work make a square channel. With a lot less work you could use the WAM method just by tilting the poles and, of course, the Weave Pole Guide Wires will fit on these or any set of weave poles you own.
The advantage to using Stick-in-the-Ground Weave Poles is, there is no base, so the dog has one less distraction. The disadvantages are, it takes a bit longer to set the event up and it’s not as easy to move it.
Any of these methods, in the right hands will produce results. It really comes down to what works for you and your dog, if you find one method isn’t working, try a different approach. Sometimes all it takes is a change in routine. Dogs are really no different than people, they all learn at different speeds and sometimes, even by different methods. In the end, it’s your patience, persistence and praise that will determine whether your dogs succeeds or fails.
IT IS ALL UP TO YOU!
Agility, more than just good for your dog!