Dissecting Weaving, the new DVD & I Didn’t Forget

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Okay, before I settle into answering the weave questions that have come in, I thought today  I would write about the new DVD and what brought me around to the 2×2 method. It is a long entry,  I hope it doesn’t come off as being propagandacious to any of you.

I guess, at the center of it all, is my admission, that I am a pretty impatient person.  I, like many of you I’m sure, do not like wasting my time.  I think that is what pushes me to to try to improve upon technique when I observe a slow learning process for my dogs. In my opinion the 2×2 method of weave pole training is one of my best ideas to date. If there ever was an opportunity to use the phrase paradigm shift in dog agility, this would be it. 

If you are about to train a new dog to weave, are in the midst of training with another method, or are unhappy with your dog’s current weave pole performance in the ring, it just makes sense for you to invest in the new DVD immediately.

For those of you that are thinking you are satisfied with how your dog weaves now, you will be blown away with the improvement you’ll see once you work through all of the exercises on 2 disc-set. The name “12 Poles in 12 Days” isn’t just the title of the DVD, it is a fact.  Disc one is a daily video journal that shows you how I taught two dogs to weave from start to finish, all in a matter of few days, totaling less than 55 minutes of training time.  After 12 days the dogs had such a great understanding of how to weave it was almost impossible to distract either dog from their job of weaving. 

For those of you that think this is all a marketing ploy, and really don’t believe it is possible to get that level of efficacy in just 55 minutes of training, believe it! I am sure people’s skepticism comes from that fact that when training their own dog to weave, (using traditional methods), they likely spent those first 55 minutes trying to teach the dog not to jump wires, steal a toy or go around angled poles! I’m sure it is hard to imagine teaching a dog to weave in less than one week would be possible?  But 2×2 weave training really is just that easy.   I liken this to myth of the 4 minute mile. For years people believed the 4 minute mark would never be broken by runners at the mile distance. In 1954 Roger Banister finally did it. Once people realized it could be done it has plummeted ever since and now stands almost 20 seconds below that once elusive barrier.  I think in the same way dog agility people have gotten used to the idea that weave pole training just takes 6 – 9 months or more to get right. The 2×2 method will be dog agility’s Roger Banister.  Now you can take a few short weeks, train your dog to weave, and then we can all think of something far more productive to do with all of that extra time!  

You may be thinking “yeah right, but Susan you are a professional, I could never train that way”.  I can understand your doubts and let me just say, you and I are a lot more alike then you may think. I, too, have struggled with other methods of weave pole training over my 19 year career in the sport. My first dog I trained to weave with the-hand-in-the-collar-lure-with-a-cookie-method.  My next one I used angled weave poles. For the following dog, I invested in one of those expensive channels & guide wires set ups (that dinosaur rusted under our porch for the next 10 years until we got rid of it last summer!). In 1997 I switched to teaching weaves using 3 poles and pure shaping. It worked pretty well, but I will admit, it did take more dog training savvy then the average person may have.  Over then next 5 years I saw how my own students struggled with the process, and I confess, I did something a good instructor should never do.  I was so troubled to see the frustration of both dog and handler trying to shape weave poles, I often would just step in and trained the dogs for them.  

All of that inspired me to come up with a better way to teach dogs to weave and for the last 6 years, hundreds of people have had really spectacular results training their dogs using my 2×2 method.   I mentioned yesterday that I almost released a DVD 5 years ago with this process, I am so glad I didn’t. What I have learned over the past five years, both training my own dogs and observing others, has all been poured into this new project.  You are truly the benefactor of the 5 year wait. 

 The DVD, gives you easy to follow, step-by-step instruction that I promise ,will make it unbelievably simple to follow along with at home, even if you are not a professional like me! It is something you can do at home. You no longer have to wait to  practice your dog’s weaving only when you go to your training club or school. It doesn’t matter if don’t have a huge agility field of your own, heck, some of my students have stared the 2×2 training in their living room! For those of you that have Excellence in Weave Pole Training: Phase One you have a perfect complement to the program. For the rest of you that don’t have it, don’t worry as I have included on Disc Two the 15 page workbook that was part of that ebook. Print out this summary report, take it with you to your training yard and it will guide you through the process you saw on the DVD. Think of it as my insurance policy to make sure you do get it right, I am going to do what I can to make sure you all have success with the 2×2 method.

If you are reading this and thinking, great, I will get this when I get my next dog, here is my advise to you, don’t wait.  Take your currently trained dog and first of all, work through the advanced weave drills found on disc 2.  If these challenges overwhelm your dog go back and work through the 2×2 process from the start with him.  Not only will you be impressed with the improvements, even an accomplished agility dog will show, you will quickly become a 2×2 pro yourself, making the process that much easier you when you do get your next new puppy.  

Disc 2 was a ton of fun to make and if you approach the challenges in the light-hearted way I present them, you will see the same amazing results. Basically, because of how the 2×2 process builds upon the dog’s own understanding, there is no weave pole entry presented that properly trained 2×2 dog cannot nail within 3-5 attempts.  Since you never use gates or wires, so there is nothing to fade. Quite often the dog’s understanding of finding entries is faded once you remove these props.  With 2×2 trained dogs,  the dog’s trigger for success is the sight of the poles themselves. Any time you come across a weave entry that overwhelms your dog, you just set it up at home, rotate the first 2 poles to remind the dog of his job, and over then next 3-5 reps rotate the poles back  and then, voila, the dog has the entry! It only takes a matter of minutes.

One of the really beneficial side effects of the method is the dog’s low head position. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the introductory video clip I have on my YouTube site. . One of the things that makes 2×2 dogs stand out in the crowd (beside their awesome weave skill) is their low head positions as they drive through the poles.  Low head position means the dog is not ‘floating’ through the poles he is actually driving through. This translates into more speed in the poles. The next thing this method affords you is independence.  Throughout the entire training process, you are training the dog to be thoughtful on his own, allowing him to choose what he wants to do.  This makes it easy for you at a trial, to take off on your dog, leaving him in the poles, so you can get to your next handling position.  You no longer have to run beside your dog cajoling him as he weaves. I tell my students, you are a dog trainer for a few weeks outside of the ring, so that you can concentrate on being a handler once you get into the ring! 

I could go on and on but I will leave that for another time:).  Don’t think I have forgotten about my promise of a gift.  For those of you that haven’t read my promise here is what happened.  I was genuinely, really floored when I saw how much tax my fellow Ontarians have to pay when they buy this DVD from me so I decided to give everyone something at least of equal value in return (in my opinion this is triple the value).  Here is what I have come up with; anyone that buys the new DVD from my website will get a free ebook from me in return.    The ebook is a complete transcript of the entire 2-Disc DVD set.  This gives you 3 awesome resources to ensure your success with this method; 1) the DVD itself, 2) the 15 page work book 3) the ebook of transcripts from  the DVD (complete with helpful pictures).  So if you have already bought the DVD (not a problem you will still be getting your free gift) and for those of you that haven’t, get on it!  Okay so it is hard to give away anything free without coming off as slightly propagandacious. Again, that is not my intension, believe me, this free gift is complete spontaneous on my part but will be completely worth while to anyone that buys the DVD from our website. Your free gift will be ready for you by next week and everyone that has bought DVD from me will be eligible for it.  Stay tuned, I be posting information in a few days. In the mean time, click this link to get your copy of Susan Garrett’s 2×2 Weave Pole Training, 12 Poles in 12 Days.

So if this blog entry has sparked any other weave questions, send them in, I am planning on answering weave questions tomorrow.

Today I am grateful for Brenda, a very talented student of mine who always pitches in to help at a moments notice, even when I ask “hey Brenda can I get a transcript of the DVDs really quickly?”.  Brenda R-O-C-K-S-!-!


  1. Susan
    can’t wait to get my DVD and work thru the challenges. Love the trailer – but why the big word – propagandacious – can’t even find it in the dictionary!

    • I did warn you all I do tend to make up my own words, propangdacious would be one in a very long list!

  2. If I am going to order weave poles to train 2x2s, to retrain one dog, and start one dog from scratch, do I need to order 3 sets of 2 or 6 sets of 2? I already have a regular set of 12 poles.

  3. I’m going to put your DVD and the 2 X 2 method to a rigorous test. I have a 7 year Border Collie who could not master weave poles through any method that I tried previously with him. There is no physical reason why he can’t weave – he just doesn’t have the mental discipline to enter correctly and stay engaged with all six poles. When my DVD arrives, I am going to try this full program out with him before I start working with my two Agility dogs. If he learns to weave even 6 poles independently, then . . . well, I will just be floored. I’m looking forward to the DVD.

  4. My sister who lives many miles away called yesterday to say hello and ask what’s new. Well, I said, I feel great ! I just ordered a new DVD about a terrific method for weave pole training for dogs, that’s, you know, how to train the weave poles… you know like a slalom… in dog Agility …
    The silence on the other end of the line brought to mind Lily Tomlin’s famous question ‘Is this the party to whom I am speaking?’
    I’m looking forward to the DVD.

  5. Weave question!

    After looking through the eBook, it seems like you need lots of space for training 2×2 weaves for all the entry challenges. Is it possible to do it in tight quarters? (my dog and I live in a small bachelor apt in downtown Toronto! Actual working space is about 6 feet x 10 feet give or take). I’m looking at renting space to train..but that would only be once a week…and it seems this method works best using daily training.


  6. When you speak of the 12 poles in 12 days. How long of a session would one really aim for? I tend to overdue sessions and need to be more aware of when to stop in order to get the peak performances out of my dog for each session – I am hoping that record keeping will help with that.

  7. The age old question my dog doesn’t have particularly great toy drive, I want fantasmagorical weaves can I get wonderful results with food?

  8. Are the DVD’s ordered through you coming to the US from Canada? How long do you expect for delivery? I need to train my youngest dog on the weaves and have been waiting (not so patiently) for this DVD to come out. I have become a SG training snob. Dear Santa, I want it and I want it now!! For those of you who have never used Susan’s methods, start now. They really, really work and they are fun for both dog and handler. (No, Susan didn’t pay me to say that.)
    Thanks Susan.

  9. I have the same question than Christine’s. I try stopping after 10 to 15 minutes of practice but I’m as motivated as my dog is so it’s sometimes a bit hard.

    Wendy: I don’t know the answer but I guess you can transfer the value of your dog’s food to a toy. Then you’ll be able to practice with a toy 🙂 I’ve read this from “Shaping Success” and as a matter of fact it works very well.

    Regards from Belgium

  10. I’m worried – I think I’m addicted to this blog.

  11. I’m addicted, too, thanks for this wonderful blog!
    I have a few questions and apologize for the length of this. I recently trained my young dog to weave. I have one 2×2 (not approved version) that we played with entries for awhile when he was a pup, then stopped. After he was a year old I trained him using channels. It took less than two weeks once I started training every day. I did not lure or use wires and he learned to run through to a toy tossed out at the end. He runs fast, highly motivated, keeps head low and his entries are good. I don’t have to be anywhere nearby while he is weaving. I haven’t done any of the proofing yet. Here is the main question. I’ve been planning to buy a set of regular weave poles soon, as my channels are old and rusty and not regulation width. Susan, you have all the training equipment available because that is what you do. Should I buy a full set of 2×2 and retrain now? Do people buy a full set of 2×2’s and also a full set of regulation weave poles? What do you advise people on a limited budget for now and future use? I also have a small back yard with not much room for storing equipment. Can I buy 1 or 2 sets of 2×2’s and use these with the regulation weave poles I’ve been planning on getting, and use the 2×2’s for the entry proofing in front of a set of regular weave poles? It seems inconvenient for someone with a small backyard to use the 2×2’s forever, staking and unstaking every time hubby needs to mow the yard. So now I’m not sure what to do. What do you advise? I bought the DVD this week and can’t wait to get it. I want to practice the drills with my older dog, too! Happy Holidays!

  12. I’m definitely addicted. My trip to the training center was cancelled today due to ice on the roads, so I’m getting my training fix here.

  13. The DVD arrived in Phoenix on Wednesday. My plan was to take it with me for viewing on the long flight home to visit family for the holidays next week, but not sure I’ll be able to wait. Thanks so much Susan, and the blog audio commentary is fabulous.

  14. I am really excited for this DVD. I ordered it yesterday and am stalking the mailman waiting for it’s arrival. I have a 6 year old rescue Cattle Dog cross and we have run into major weave pole issues as of late – missing entries and popping out. He was originally trained with channels, so I am planning on re-training from ground zero with your 2×2 method. He is a very talented boy, and I know he can do it, I think he just needs to have it process differently in his mind. I’m hoping your method will do just that! We have had many, many (many!!!) clean runs except for the poles, so I look forward to having a talented, consistent, weaving dog. I’m also going to start my 15 month old Aussie pup on the method as well. Get him going on the right foot! Thank you!

  15. What other kinds of rear-end awareness exercises other than teaching “back-up” can I do with my dog until she’s old enough to weave?

  16. The Blog is great Susan, almost like having you in person! Haven’t got the DVD yet, hoping it comes before Xmas so I have lots of time to spend watching and working on the exercises. The E Book was a great addition and we have been working thru the exercises in class. All the dogs here are 2×2 dogs now and they didn’t have problems with any of the drills so far. One question I have as a handler who is always behind her dog and a dog who LOVES poles, when does a weave pole entry become a “flick”. So challeng 11-12 in the e book, if I was running with the dog ( I know it says lead out etc)with dog on right and was too far back to rear cross to pull to the pole entry and just said “weave” would it be a flick? Sometimes this happens and Bounce will always find the poles but I feel like it is flicking cause I am so bloody far behind!

  17. Hi Susan:
    I’ve been back from Say Yes Skills all of two weeks now, and in the meantime have picked up my puppy … we are already doing Crate Games (made to Yer Out, Yer In!) and Yer Choice. I get it, the puppy gets it, my older boy gets it – thank you to you and your crew for sharing your training methods – it simply makes sense. Love the blog … can’t wait to dive into the new DVD ….
    Happy Holidays! 🙂

  18. Quick question — I’m in Germany and suspect that I can get your DVD a lot faster than I’ll be able to get 2x2s — I think there are only a couple of manufacturers in Europe that make ’em. Can I use stick in ground poles to substitute? Both my dogs are good fast weavers but I’d love to use the off-season to train entries. happy holidays, Jeanine

  19. Hi Susan, I purchased the 2×2 video (as well as all your videos/books) and my 1 1/2 year old border collie Bandit is weaving 6 poles in 4 days. I have to say that he LOVES the weave poles and sometimes before I can get him set up to go again, he is already doing them on his own. I have to purchase 3 more sets so that I can get started with the rest of the video. I am so happy to have found this video, because it was taking forever with the channel method. I really thought it was going to take me a year to train the poles. Thanks!!
    Pam & Bandit

    • Awesome Pamela, That is the sort of thing the worlds needs to hear, as there are a lot of skeptics out there that don’t want to leave their channels! Thanks for posting.

  20. I am sold, I just purchased another set of 3 2×2’s to get started on the second set of 6. I am all for what works. The channel weaves are just to slow of a process and the dogs do not learn the entry. I also really like the proofing methods that you use. I CAN’T wait to start that next.

  21. I’m enjoying your blog a lot. I have to say, when I read what Joanna (and Nemo) said about reinforcement in training and about working without equipment, right away I resolved to follow her advice!!
    I’m working steadily on my 2X2’s, definitely inspired by the great videos others have sent in. We’re at 2 sets at 1 and 7 o’clock, they are stick-in-the grounds because that’s all I had to start with. They are old pointy summer sun-umbrella holders. Then it got cold and the darn poles are hard to hammer in and move out of frozen ground! To get the angles right a little spray paint on the ground is a must. My set of 3 is in the works getting welded up. I discovered that if I carry 2 tennis balls, the other one is a brand new fluo ball, my dog always willingly brings back the other, old one, that I’ve thrown. I have made weave time special “ball time”, so when I go to get the ball, he is unbelievably thrilled and revved up.

  22. Hello

    I’m at stage 2 with 4 weave poles at 2 and 8 o’clock. I should reward my dog 50% of the time
    in between the two sets. The problem is that sometimes my dog is too fast and i’m too slow
    to reward her between the two sets. Do you think :
    a) i should ignore her ?
    b) i should wait for fer to come back to me to get her reward ( grrrrrrrrr. i don’t like that idea)
    c) i should work with only one set ?
    d) i should reward her after the second set no matter if i intented to reward her after the first
    set ?
    e) say “oops” and do the exercise again ?

    Am i clear ?

    Thanks for your help !

  23. I started this past Sunday using your 2×2 method, watched the DVD at least 5 times before I began. I must say after 2 days (Sunday & Monday) Tucker is doing awesome. It was slow go the first day since I had never shaped with him before. Put when he caught on it was trully an Ah Ha moment.

    What I would really like to know is where you got the great ball tug toy you used with Trendi. My dog will work for a ball before he will work for food, I like that the ball is enclosed rather than attached less likely to get his foot tangled.

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