How Can I Train My Shy Dog To Do The Weave Poles?

We’ve been at this for a LONG time, but its realy hard. He LOVES to do the rest of the agility stuff..he doesnt play with toys, so he goes all out when we do agility. When someone goes to pick him up, he yelps..hes not hurt or anything, just realy skittish. He is well socialized, but we think he might have been sat on by his mother when he was a pup. Oh, by the way, he’s a 4 year old papillon male. I would realy love to compete with him this summer, but we need to learn the weave poles.

5 thoughts on “How Can I Train My Shy Dog To Do The Weave Poles?”

  1. There are lots of different ways to train the weaves and you don’t mention what approach you use which makes it hard to comment.
    Some trainers tend to stick to their favourites even if they’re not well suited to a particular handler/dog combo so you should maybe think of trying a new approach.
    Current ‘fashion’ is the 2 by 2 method, others methods include weavomatics, channel, lured (3 pole)..and others I can’t think of off top of head.
    Over the years I’ve used channel, 3 pole, and 2 by 2 and each had pros and cons.
    You need to find the approach that both you and your dog feel comfortable with. Retraining with a totally new approach needn’t confuse your dog.
    It may be worth ruling out injury too. Weaving uses different actions to other activities – legs move out sideways from body. I’ve had a dog refuse the weaves due to a shoulder muscle problem.
    Lots of agility books and videos out there (see for the best), and you may like to join an agility email list and pose your question there.
    I know a few papillons doing agility – they look great out in the ring!

  2. Join the club. Our lab has been trained in agility. Her favs are tunnels and jumps. At our first training classes she never did get the hang of weave poles – everything else was fine and quick learning.
    I practiced at home all the time – she never got it. Then when I took her to classes/training again this past summer – she finally caught on to what the weave poles are and what to do. She still needs guidance but can almost do them herself with not too much directions from me.
    Don’t give up – one day your pup will understand. I would keep training and working with him before you think about competition.

  3. My first agility dog, I taught weaves using his leash and a “cheese stick”. A long stick with peanut butter on the end of it, and lured him through. He does weave pretty good now, but only from one side. I do not reccomend this method. I have since used the 2 by 2 method, which worked pretty well. I do prefer using 3 poles now, as I am having a lot more success with it. 3 straight up weaves. touch plate at the end. have your dog sit close to the first pole and ask to weave. dog should go through poles on his own and touch. Throw a treat to the touch plate, to keep you out of the picture. At first you need a leash a little bit until they get the idea. After they figure it out, you need to do it off leash. Every position you can imagine, every distance, crosses while doing them etc. When they have 3 down from every angle, etc, you can move to 4-5. Check out clean run, I’m sure they have some great videos on weave training. You also need to practice every day. Just a few minutes a day, will really help. Good luck. Pap’s are great at agility!

  4. What is a “Long” time to you??….3 weeks or a year??
    First – ask your instructor why you are not being successful. I’m surprised that they are not helping you more. Are you not willing to do something that he/she wants you to do?? That was a problem when I was an instructor — people would say “Fuzzy can’t do that” or “Fuzzy won’t respond that way”. Well – try to do things as your instructor wants for at least 30 days. And YOU have to practice DAILY. Just 10-15 minutes and they should be as fun and exciting as you can make them for your dog. I know that real weaves are expensive – so get the stick-in-the-ground kind.
    Second – Does your dog target? I’m rather old school and use channel weaves, garden gate/border fencing, a target plate and clicker. First – teach dog to race to target plate. Do this until he is 100% racing 10-15-20 feet to the plate. VIP – EACH STEP NEEDS TO BE WORKED UNTIL DOG IS 100%. also be sure to run on both sides of your dog at all times during the training – so he is used to Off or On-sides. So move slowly – no rushing and you’ll be weaving by late spring. Then add two weave poles Side-bySide and about 1-2 feet apart. Put garden mesh/border fencing in ground on one side of the pole (like a wing). Dog runs through center to plate a few feet beyond entry point. Repeat, Repeat…. Then add more poles under you create a channel with dog running down a straight corridor. Repeat, Repeat. Then bring poles closer together making the channel narrower. Repeat, Repeat. Get the channel to about 6-8 inches wide. Repeat, Repeat.
    Now move onto actual weaving — use only 3 poles. Make sure wings are in place. Adjust the poles so that your dog can not longer run a straight line but must just bend them a little bit. The channel should still be a bit wide — Depends on the size of your dog. Repeat and do NOT move the poles tighter until your dog is 100%. Each step must be very small and incremental. Be happy, keep training sessions short, Daily practice at home are KEY!! GOOD LUCK!

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