Susan Garrett's DVD "2 x 2 Weave Training" has arrived in the mail. I hate to admit it but I was ridiculously excited...I think I've already watched it about 20 times!
The method itself is the same as when I first tried it out on Riot in 2005 but Susan has really simplified it. I think it's great and I find her philosophy regarding dogs learning to "blast" through weavers rather than understanding how to collect themselves and find the entry very relevant. We have some fabulously fast border collies here in Perth who although do really fast weavers, often have entry issues particularly on hard angles. The most likely reason being that they don't have an understanding of how to collect their bodies and make the entry and want to just hit the poles as fast as possible. Sonic was already able to do 12 weavers but I wasn't happy in the least in how he was approaching them or making his way through them. That was why I decided to stop and wait for this DVD to arrive.
So Sonic and I have made a start. I have set out to follow the method exactly as set out in the the DVD, as if he hasn't done any weaving yet at all. I shaped a lot of his early training so he picked up the idea very quickly of offering to go into the poles. Susan does three sessions per day on the DVD and I am not able to do that with both work and the current Perth heat slowing things down. However what we are doing he is picking up very quickly so I feel pretty confident that we will have great weavers by the end of this month. Complete proofing may take a little longer.
The best news is that Sonic loves it. He races out to find the entry no matter where I'm standing and then zooms through to get his toy. I have found the philosophy of encouraging your dog to make a mistake really interesting. I'm sure that I am one of many dog trainers who always try and set up training so that my dog only suceeds. If he makes a mistake I generally make it easier for him so he can get it right. Susan is basically saying that making it easier only teaches our dogs that if they struggle we will make it less challenging for them rather than encouraging them to work through it. It's actually been really hard at this stage to get Sonic to make many mistakes. If he does make a mistake he rarely makes the same one again. However I'm making a concious effort not to coddle him and to encourage him to try something whether he gets it right or wrong. If if he does fail he comes back full of enthusiasm to give it another go which is fantastic and shows a great attitude to his work. I'm videoing bits and pieces when I get the chance so hopefully when I'm done I can put it together and look back at our progression.