Monday, July 31, 2006

Agility: Weave update

I recently wrote about my efforts to get Lucy to nail her weave pole entries using three poles, promising an update on our progress. Recent intense heat has made it harder to get in as much practice as we like, but I've been able to get in several sessions of training with the three-pole setup, and it seems to have helped Lucy somewhat. I've decided that the three-pole practice needs to be interspersed with sets of six and 12 poles, because it's potentially confusing. When I first tried the three poles, Lucy seemed to think it a bit strange that there weren't more poles. She adapted quickly, however, but then when I ran her through six poles, she popped out after three poles! So I think the secret is to intersperse practice on varying numbers of poles, to reinforce the notion that no matter how many poles there are, it's still a weave obstacle.

This all reminded me of something I learned earlier in her training: I had initially taught her exclusively on a 12-pole setup, thinking that if she could do 12 poles then six would never be a problem. I was mistaken: the first time we ran in a NADAC weavers class, she blew right by the six-weave sets! I was able to bring her back to the entry and she completed them, but it was clear that she just didn't recognize them at first as an obstacle she needed to perform. So I have since made it a point to practice on both six- and 12-pole sets regularly.

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