Saturday, April 18, 2009

New Looks on an Old Subject

Last night I attended a weave pole seminar. Moe Strenfel does a series of weave seminars and this one was the third. I attended the first, forgot to attend the second (I'm an idiot), remembered the third.

Fun times.

One confusing thing that I found when learning to run a fast dog was the use of the word Shaping. In my mind shaping is associated with clicker training. The handler does not give cues and the dog trys behaviors while the handler marks the behavior. It is a fun way to train and I find the dog learns incredibly fast and is eager to learn.

However, in weave pole training, handlers use the word shaping to also mean "to shape an entrance." In this case, the word is used to describe a handler forcing the dog (by standing in a particular position) to an entrance of the weaves that is easier for the dog (they've seen the direct on approach, so shape that approach). In shaping entrance the dog relies on the handler to get to the spot needed and is not independent of the trainer.

Last night much of the night was working on teaching independent entrances. Moe uses two poles to start and shapes (using clicker training) by not allowing the dogs to make a mistake and rewarding successes.

There were about 12 handler/dog teams and it was fun walking around watching the dogs work. I really think I sometimes learn more from auditing than working in a class.

I recommend this seminar series even if you have great poles. Moe provides a ton of insight into the dogs perspective of weave pole training.

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