Contacts and Weave Camp

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


This past weekend I did a Contacts and Weave workshop and we had  an awesome group. It didn’t hurt that 12 of the 14 handlers had been to  multiple camps here at Say Yes at one time or another.  Teaching people that already have a good understanding of the system makes my job a lot easier. The really cool thing was that ALL of the teams showed a MASSIVE improvement over the course of the two days of training. The weaving was totally impressive –there was  some pretty novice-level people that were able to accomplish some really mind-blowing work on four poles. In this clip I am including work from three people that have never trailed in agility before! Of course there are some mistakes, but I don’t want to scare you all off, this method works even with your mistakes! The only difference is it may take you a bit longer. Check this out, it is filmed over the two days and you can see some real progressions in all of the dogs.

Another really inspiring thing that happened over the weekend was the way the nose touches improved in leaps and bounds in just two days. Nose targeting is something our students traditionally have laboured over. Often trying to “perfect it” for months, some times a year or more!! This used to drain the students, the dog and I will admit sometimes the instructor too:).  I think we lost students over their inability to get the nose touch “of their dreams” while working so hard towards it. Now that I have proven that weave poles can be trained a lot faster than people expected, I am out to move my students along on their nose targeting. I have been fine tuning the way I teach contacts for the last 15 years. But the method hasn’t really hasn’t changed much in all that time, I have just come up with ways to teach it more effectively. I started using a nose target to train my contact with Stoni (who was a re-train). Buzzy was the first dog I started as a puppy, that was 12 years ago. I wrote all about the method in Shaping Success. My focus with the method in the last three years has been to really make it simple for anyone to have success, and I am thrilled at the most recent results. Here is a clip from camp, remember for some of these folks, this is pretty new  stuff!

I am truly inspired with the progress everyone showed over this mini 2-day camp. I am grateful for all of the students that continue  to invest their time with their dogs at our school.



  1. WOW!!!!

  2. Love seeing the dogs all working around each other!

    A friend and I are going to buy 2×2’s and retrain. We’ll be training outdoors on grass most of the time. The base colors available are black, blue, brown, green, red, white. From your video it appears most of your bases are brown or black. We want to know if it makes a difference what color bases we get.

    • The colour shouldn’t matter Patti, we have white bases, cream coloured and black base. If you have hot sun maybe pick the lightest colour so it won’t heat up as much.

  3. Susan I just wanted to mention how entertaing and fun to watch your video clips are. Very impressed with everyones weaving skills!

  4. So what am I grateful for?? I am truly grateful to Susan for sharing her knowledge, her passion and her wisdom. Lessons way beyond agility training, but hey, great training too.

  5. Thank you! I can’t wait to order these bases and get started!

  6. It was really great to see the nose targeting it really helps to see what behaviour is required.
    I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work with Susan and Linda OH, in Australia.

  7. Nice to watch the clips. The 2×2 stuff is very impressive. With the nose targeting are they just targeting a hand or is there a disc at the end?

  8. Loved the 2×2 DVD. Where can you by the big blue wobble disk that the man is using with the little white dog? I can’t seem to find one on the net. Can’t wait until the spring to start training 2×2.

  9. Sandie, you must have missed it on Clean Run, it’s called a fitball balance disk… a similar item is available if you check out medical suppliers…. there’s even a “wobble board” manufacturer in the uk…and what about those kids balancing toys…

  10. Thanks, Trudie. I was looking under agility equipment. Found it now.

  11. I just got my DVDs and support material, and am eager to get started, but have one question. My dog already weaves, and she loves to do them, and is used to shaping, and we did lots of entries as a pup with 2 poles (though not always going in the same direction- oops!), so I anticipate that when she sees two poles, she will run through them, but more like a typical entry, not straight through as in the diagram for the first step. (Sorry for the run-on sentence!) If she does, should I then reinforce on the diagram’s reward line, or on a reward line that is perhaps a bit more advanced/ in line with typical entries? I’m perfectly happy to start all the way at the beginning, but am concerned that it might be confusing to force a reward line that will later move back to what we rewarded away from. Did that make sense? And yes, I do get that its not really the reward line we’re changing as much as we’re changing how they get to the reward line, but at the very beginning, the first session, neither is yet established.

    I would say her weaves are very good, especially for a young dog (not quite 18 months) but I don’t think they’re fabulous (yet!) They are fast, she stays in with many but not all distractions, her footwork is good and getting better, and she makes some great entries, but coming from high speed straight in she often overshoots.

    Susan Mann, Brodie, Kyp!, and Arie

  12. Susan, could you tell how you teach the back up, and maybe gear it towards a small dog, oh and since I’m asking, would you just bop on over here and teach it to my yorkie 🙂
    I’ve tried many things, walking into him (he sits, or does a nice finish) I’ve tried creating a chute so he has no other option (he can turn around on a dime) I need to shape it and I’m failing at it.

    I love your blog, thank you so much for sharing your time and talents.

  13. Since you say dogs have struggled so much with earlier methods of nose touch, do you have an article, or can you write something up for those of us who want to do nose touch contacts but can’t come to your camps?

  14. Just an update from my earlier post-

    I did end up rewarding her along a line as if the poles were at 2 & 8, as she went that way the first time I had her through the poles. I did end up keeping her on one set of 2 poles a bit longer perhaps than usual, as she had quite a history of entering from either side, and I would occasionally get an entry going in the other direction when I started working up the arc. Today’s second session (of 2) was fabulous- entries all up the arc, even high up on both sides, and with me moving at speed and into her space. She missed two entries early on, both of which were with my motion, and no reversions to entering the opposite direction- with 22 total correct entries. So tomorrow, we go to 2 sets!

  15. Can anybody tell me the diameter PVC used on the 2×2 video. We are looking at getting some 2×2’s made but just checking whether its 1″ or 3/4″.

  16. Well, knock on wood, but in a year of doing the weaves, based on the 2X2 method, we’ve had no pop outs, amazing entries, and rapid acceleration. My surrogate instructor, Christine Frank just loves Peek-a-Boo’s weaves.
    Thank you, Susan.

  17. Hi Susan

    I was totally amazed by Encore’s dog walk contact at the World championship last year. That was really amazing and inspirational.
    I watched your videos from the contacts and weave camp and I was wondering; how do you teach the transition from tapping on your hand to tapping on the floor?

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