Send Them On

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hi all, just a quickie to let you know I am working on the weave pole webinar, hoping to have it completed for the blog on Wednesday. This is your last chance to post any 2×2 questions for me. John and I are leaving the house at o-dark-o-clock this morning to do (what I hope is) our last “home tour” with our builder. We are in the home stretch (pardon the pun:)). I am hoping we will be in the new house by my birthday at the end of the July (so test your powers of visualization and get us out of this apartment!).  Remember send on the questions.

Today I am grateful for all of the weave questions that have come in so far!



  1. Hi Susan,
    re: 2×2 questions.
    Could you please clarify how many times/ length of time would you let a dog fail? And what would you do? (I know in the DVD you said with Trendi you made it easier but with your own dog you wouldn’t).

    Alice Barnett, NZ

    (We are up to Chapter 3 of the 2×2’s and having a blast!!)

  2. I have an 8 yr old Eskie. Originally trained on WOM weaves. OK I had no idea what I was doing so it might not be fair to blame WOM. She never learned entries until I retrained on 2×2 about 3 yrs ago. Entries and weaves improved and were quite good for awhile. Then she started “skipping” poles at different points. We re trained using the 2×2 DVD this winter. Entires are no problem but she still skips. It looks like she is not collecting before the poles, but is trying to collect while in the poles. Her body gets closer and closer to the next pole until she can’t wrap it and skips by. When she is successful her body is lower and her head straighter. Other than this life is good.

  3. Absolutely love the 2×2 method! Here’s my question: Approaching the weaves with speed on a curved approach my collie will often just duck into pole 2 rather than check her stride or switch leads (if necessary). I give her a couple of tries while trying not to change my handling or approach. If we are not successful then I open up the first two poles. How many repetitions should I do with the open poles and how “open” should they be. Do I keep them open for a couple of days or test again. If I have kept the poles straight and she was successful on the third try should I try a fourth or move on to another position? Also would you do this on 6 poles or 12?

  4. I have a similar question to Sydney. My dog is spot on with off side entries, but on side, when he is approaching at a right angle or steeper, he frequently enters at the first “gate” he notices, which may be the second or third set of poles.

    I don’t mind letting him repeat until he gets it, but when working with 12 poles I feel bad letting him do the whole set well after missing an entry and then not rewarding.

    Would you go back to 6 poles to work this? Or mark the incorrect entry with a NRM like “oops” at the time the mistake is made?


  5. I also have the same problem as Christine and Sydney. My border collie just picks whichever gate she sees when doing “on side” weaves and goes from there. When working around the clock, she is good until we get to 3:00 position and then it deteriorates. I don’t know how to improve her Value for going between that first and second pole. She has tons of speed so I don’t know how much that is a factor as she has to make a split second decision as to which gate she picks once we get to the 3:00 or harder position. This seems to be the same whether we are doing four poles or 12. Maybe I need to be closer to the poles? I have been working this from about 4-5 feet away from the poles.
    When doing “off side” weaves she totally gets it.

  6. Can you address the use of an NRM, esp while doing 2x2s??? I have an awfully hard time convincing my self to use one– is it really necessary? Won’t the lack of reinforcer suffice? Or does the NRM remove the dog from the reinforcing act of having the opp to do the behavior? Would love a bit more explanation here 😉

  7. Hi Susan,

    Thanks for all the great info. My dog is flying through 3 sets of 2×2’s set up exactly like a straight set of six, same spacing and everything. She is having a hard time with the straight six, skipping poles. It looks like she is using the “feet” on the 2×2’s as a performance aid and isn’t so sure about what to do without the extra feet on the ground to guide her. She is getting the regular six about 10 percent of the time, should I try to just let her figure it out or is there something else I can do?

  8. I have been training 2 x 2 weaves with my Papillon(2 year old) from the start about 6 months ago and having good success, good entries, not great speed, but ok on 6 poles, using 21″ spaced 2×2 now we have progress to 12 poles and he is skipping poles at about the 10th pole and yesterday just stopped at about the 6th pole and looked at me. I have noticed a change in speed when we went to our regular set of weaves as they are 23″ spaced which was a change from our 2x2s. Kind of a quandry thinking maybe we should start over?? He is a medium drive dog without toy motivation (we have tried to develope the toy drive).

    • Susan, This is a add on to the post earlier today.
      I am determined to go back and get the toy drive. So today (could not find my mesh tug toy) I took a well work sock and put food and mushed it up and the Pap did tuck a couple of times. So put it away and will do again later… Once we have the toy drive I think I will restart the 2×2 with the toy. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
      See you in Washington in June…I am so excited.

  9. Hi Susan,

    I have a few questions—-one, I tried to find the 2×2 workbook and am unable to find it to download (I want so much to use your 2×2 workbook, I assume it’s fabulous)so if you could tell me how to find it!!!! Also, what do you use to stake down the 2×2’s (my ground is somewhat uneven and the spikes I use tend to pull out). Last of all, my dog is 16″, and on regular weavepoles, she bounces (steady but not super fast), but when I use the 3- 2×2’s,just open an inch or so, she is so fast and does a beautiful single step. I would love to get her footwork to where she singlesteps if possible (she is like lightening when she single steps throught the 2×2’s), so how do I encourage her single stepping footwork? I have thought about setting up a permanent set of 6-2×2’s, slightly open, along with my straight up weaves to experiment with her footwork. I really would like you to clarify this for me–I don’t want to screw her up!!! Congratulations on your new home!!!


  10. My sheltie was re-trained with 2x2s a couple of years ago but still has trouble weight shifting from lots of speed. When I send her from a stand still into the poles her weight shift is great and her speed is about .3-.4 seconds faster then when we are coming from a lot of speed on a course. She seems to be on her forehand and usually gets stuck half way through. We have done lots and lots of body awarness tricks, but the problem has not gone away.

  11. I have been using the 2X2 method training a Catahoula/possibly bulldog cross from the beginning of his weave training. Was loving the method. We got up to 12 poles fairly quickly – he was nailling entries, but somewhere along the way things have slowed down and seem to be falling apart. He’s a big dog, broad in the chest, and was “getting stuck” , pulling the stakes out and hitting his face on the poles. Consequently he slowed down and often skips poles. Seems to me, quite a while ago, you had mentioned that Decaff was getting hit in the face and weaving slowly. I can’t remember what you did to help her. I have tried different stakes, but can’t seem to find anything long enough to REALLY secure them. It’s certainly affecting establishing any kind of rythm thru the poles. Any ideas?

  12. My doggie sounds similar to Sydney’s and Christine Mcphee’s on same side entries.I’m “oops!-ing” and we start again. He’s also started to sometimes exit before the last 2 poles.

  13. Hello Susan

    I have asked you what to do with my 14 month old puppy, who is double stepping the weaves… Youre answer was to follow the example in your video. So I did… I open up all the weaves and I got her all crazy with her favorite toy and send her to the weaves in one continious motion and I really kept up the steam all through the weaves. I did this 6 training sessions and she never did one single step!!! What to do? I chekket out the last part of your 2×2 video and saw that quite a few of the dog (especially the smaller ones) where double stepping. Do I just accept that she is double stepping or? She has a lot of drive and good speed in the weaves (you saw her on your facebook profile doing 12 poles for the first time).

    Best regards Jane & Jiggy from Denmark

  14. While we haven’t done the 2×2 method yet the problems we are having is that she thinks weaving is fun and goes too fast and often hits the pole in front of her then bounces out. I have even seen her jump through them and wrap her body around the pole about half way up it.

  15. Hi Susan,
    I had hard time to train my 3 year Border/Lab mixed to find sharp entry but with 2×2 method, she is now able to find entry regardless of the angle and of the side.
    Thank you su much for publishing the 2×2.

    My question may be different than 2×2 but what makes her weave speed slower when she runs on trials or classes than when we practice at home.

    at home:

    at class:

  16. Hi,first sorry my english is not very good but for my dogs i pick my dictionnary….my dog Lucille is very very slow in the weaves,she checks if each pole is paint well in trial we pass 10-12 sec in weave,we run clear but miss time.I buy the dvd for my new dog Ingrid but do you think lucille 5 years old can do this and do i begin at chap 1?thank you and i hope you will understand.

  17. The only toy object I could get my puppy to get excited enough for the weaves was the chuckit. Now I’m having great difficulty in getting her to weave without me holding the chuckit. When I am holding it, she’ll weave a full set from 60′ away with a horse standing in between us. Without it, she’ll run along them pretending to weave, she’ll stop at #2 and look at me. How do I transfer the drive? Do I retrain with her driving to the object on the ground?

  18. Love your DVD! What is the best age to start a pup with 2×2? My 7 month old pug will gladly and accurately run through 12 poles, with me remaining at the first pole. We are struggling, however, with consistent entries. No matter how much we work the arc, she can’t seem to wrap her little mind around it. Is she too young to understand it yet? Is it like trying to teach long division to a kindergartner?

  19. My year-old Parson Russell doesn’t yet have a retrieve that I’m really happy with, but I am working on it. Should I wait to start training the 2×2 weaves until she’s reliable on her retrieve? She is very food motivated but works with more speed and enthusiasm for toys. She just doesn’t reliably bring them back. Thanks!

  20. I am having trouble getting consistency with the weave entries at a trial. At AKC trials, she might get her entries two out of four times. My dog was originally trained with channels and then retrained using 2×2. She rarely misses an entry anywhere we go to train. At a trial, she will run by the entry like she didn’t see it. Sometimes if she does get the entry, she may do her weaves slowly. Other times she will race through them. She has her excellent titles but continues to struggle with weaves at a trial.

  21. We have a student that is looking for advice on teaching weave poles to his Great Dane. To date he has clear criteria on all other performances however, we have yet to introduce the weaves. Due to size and body structure is the method recommended for a breed like this? I have been told that they shouldn’t have tight turns and angles with equipment and would assume it would also apply for the weaves with some of the more difficult entries of working around the clock. We’re Looking for suggestions or even comments from others that have trained some of the larger breeds.

  22. I started my 4 1/2 lb yorkie with the 2×2 method and she is doing really well. But she often tends to skip a pole in the middle somewhere. I target this with a oops and bring her around again and she usually gets it the next time. Occasionally she misses the entrance or exit but the skip in the middle is my main concern at this time.

  23. I have a dog (big boy-60lbs) that is slow in the weaves, like Nathalie says “checking the paint job” – lol. He will do them fast at home with me holding his ball in my hand, but not at trails. Can retraining with the 2×2 method help his speed?

  24. I have an American Cockers that I am currently training using the 2×2 method. She sped through the learning stages (changed slightly by my agility instructor) and made it until the poles were almost completely closed (in a straight line). She was being reinforced throughout. All of our training was at the training centre (Northern Alberta winter does not allow for training outside, and our house is too small). Once spring came, I put the poles in the backyard, and she blew them off. I figured it was the new environment, so I opened the poles up almost completely and reinforced for success. She would do okay 5 or 6 times, and then just start running a large arc around the poles.

    Back at class (after a break for a few weeks), she started missing the second set of 2×2 poles, no matter how open they were.

    I have now stepped back quite a bit, and am only working two sets of poles, roughly 15′ apart and fairly open. The thing is, I’m not sure what else I should be doing or how quickly I should progress through the steps again? I’ve dealt with setbacks in obedience a fair amount, but never to this extent or for this long of a time period. I’m fairly new to agility, and don’t want to screw up my dog.


  25. WOW! there are some great questions in here for Susan’s webinar!

  26. Our issue has been we cant seem to get to straight poles. When I open the distance between two sets of two he does better but the closer I get to competition width apart, the less success we have … we have been stuck here long enuf I wonder if he should see a chiro about being able to bend back tot he second straight line pole. Is this happening with others or is there really something wrong with us.

  27. I’ve been very happy with the results of the 2 x 2 system, especially the difference I see in the dog’s understanding of entries.
    Having just recently purchased a new set weave poles with 24″ spacing I wondered .. Are there 2 x 2’s available with this spacing?

  28. Hi Susan, I’m retraining two experienced 26″ & 22″ Dals (Excellent/Masters) for better footwork and entries, respectively, & one totally green 22″ mix using 2x2s. We’re at two sets of poles seven feet apart. Here are my questions so far:

    1) At this stage, is it okay to tell my dog “go” & use my arm to release them to the poles?

    2) Once I move to 3 o’clock & 9 o’clock, the two Dals sometimes miss the first set of poles or backweave them. We start from higher on the arc and they do great, so I have set a reward line. Am I confusing their current understanding of entries?

    3) By the 5th or 6th attempt, Greenie is not as inclined to bring her toy back to me. A couple times, I have gone to her and tugged where I threw it. Is that okay sometimes or should she always return it to me? What if she returns slowly?

    4) I’m videotaping our sessions & keeping record but often feel frustrated by all the raw info. How do I make this data relate to planning our next session?

    5) Greenie is in a foundation class that uses WAMs. Will doing a WAM interfere with her 2×2 work? (I didn’t receive much support for my choice.)

    Thank you very much.


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