The weave poles are one of the toughest obstacles for agility dogs to master. In the AKC Novice class, dogs must complete six poles. When they advance to the intermediate Open and advanced Excellent levels, the number of weave poles doubles to 12.
In this training tip, professional dog trainer Michele Godlevski of Youngsville, NC, tells how she improved the weave pole performance for her little rescue dog, Inca, a member of the AKC Canine Partners program.
One of the things I used with Inca that really sped up her weave pole performance was to introduce her to a remote controlled treat dispenser.
First you show the dog how it works; you press a remote control button, and the dispenser opens up to reveal a treat. You should repeat this a few times, until the dog knows what it does and likes the game. Then, I place the dispenser to the left of the last pole, and send the dog through set of 6 weave poles.
If the dog does the weaves, you press the button, if not, you reset the dog back at the start and try again. After the dog understands that game, I gradually put the dispenser further and further away from the end of the poles, so the dog runs to the dispenser.
The cool thing about this technique is that if the dog misses a pole, you just don’t click the remote. It’s a very powerful tool to teach both speedy and accurate weaves.
Inca is a mixed-breed dog who was rescued from the Franklin County (NC) Animal Shelter. She competes in AKC Agility trials with Michele, who is a certified pet dog trainer, N.A.D.O.I.-Endorsed Agility Instructor, and Certified Canine Behavior Counselor. Michele owns Teamworks Dog Training in Raleigh, NC. She has been training dogs in agility since 1995 and has earned MACH4, as well as competing in several national and international competitions.
Get information on joining the AKC Canine Partners community.