Wednesday (in handling class) Debbie set up a diabolical little course that required a tricky weave entry and a rear cross to get to the next obstacle, so that the ideal handler path was perpendicular to the dog’s progress down the weaves.
Not a one of the dogs managed to stay in the weaves under those circumstances. Rush, in fact, simply ran across them without really seeing them as weaves–right between poles one and two, but with pole one on his right shoulder.
As usual, Debbie was thrilled that she had exposed yet another gap in our training. We go home with homework every week. This week, of course, our homework involved training rear crosses at the weaves.
I set up six poles (because I was training entries, not completions), and a gentle rear cross situation–jump, weaves. It turned out that my original rear cross training must have been very bad, because that didn’t work either. I had to go back to the very beginning: dog on right, dog has straight path to weaves (and they’re only about five feet away), send dog to weaves, cross behind dog, move parallel to weaves. That worked. Same thing with dog on left. That worked too.
Next step, gradually increasing the length of my cross and then distance I was sending. I gradually increased the angle of my path until I was at about a 30-degree angle to the weaves. Then I added the jump before and the jump after back in. Finally, I added in a wrap around the second jump and a second rear cross, same handler path.
This all took about fifteen sets of six poles, which meant to me that it was time to give Rush a break. I worked the same drills with Dancer; she did very well and we were able to progress to the last set in only six sets of poles. Next training session I’ll work on increasing the angle between the weaves and the handler path.