Refusing weaves during agility trials

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Shadow- *CGC*CL2*CL3- *

Is it time for- agility yet?
Barked: Sat May 4, '13 3:58pm PST 
I have a dog that is still fairly new to trialing. We just got into level 3 in CPE and he was doing weaves perfectly fine until a trial a couple of weekends ago. We trained after that and he did his weaves perfectly during practice. Now we're at another trial and he is refusing the weaves again. He either hits the entrance and then pops out at the 2nd pole or runs right by them. He did them perfectly and from distance just a couple of days ago and now I can't even send him into them.

Weaves are now a part of most courses that we are running minus Jackpot and Fullhouse. Some are saying they think he is stressed but he is running great for the other parts of the course so I'm not sure if that is it. Does anyone have any experience dealing with a dog that did this and if so how did you handle it? Did you go back and retrain or did you continue trialing until they just eventually got used to it.

Is today agility- day??
Barked: Sun May 5, '13 2:59pm PST 
I went through a period where Bailey was refusing the weaves sometimes, but definitely not all the time. After looking through his records I realized that he was having problems with them at a 2 ring trial on the road when we were staying at a hotel. Weird. Take one of those variables away, and he was fine. It was definitely stress of some sort. I stayed away from the situations that he wasn't comfortable in for awhile to keep things positive for him, and build confidence. If he refused/popped out of the weaves at a trial, I didn't put him back into them I just kept happily running past them, finished the course, and threw a big party at the end of the run so I wouldn't add more stress into the obstacle. In the meantime I was making a point to jackpot the weaves during practice a lot more frequently.

Look at your situation and see if you can find any patterns. It probably has a lot to do with going from weaving only once per day to having to do it 3-4 times per day at a trial and not having full confidence in it yet. Build tons of value into the obstacle and do what you feel is right for your situation in terms of adjusting your trialing schedule. Try to weave in different places so it's not something that you do only at the place where you train. It will come together.

Will Work For- Food
Barked: Mon May 6, '13 1:45pm PST 
Usually during the stress of a trial, the things that your dog is not confident with will fall apart. I suspect this is what is happening, and the more you worry about it, the less confident your dog will be. I suggest going back and really work on those weaves in practice. Make it hard - and by that I mean add some stress to your training. Can your dog weave when there are toys on the ground? Can your dog weave if someone nearby is waving a baggie of treats? Can your dog weave if there is another dog playing tug nearby? Can you dog weave if you stand still? Increase the challenges both in skill difficulty and in proofing until your dog is confident with his job in any situation.

Shadow- *CGC*CL2*CL3- *

Is it time for- agility yet?
Barked: Mon May 6, '13 2:12pm PST 
Shadow did complete right sided weaves 2 times yesterday but I had to move my hand back and forth which I usually don't have to do. Some people said I run him differently at trials than in practice and that probably has something to do it. He is also jumping and biting more than in practice. I think it's just going to take us some time to get into the swing of things at trials.

Bailey- I give him a couple tries and if he doesn't do it we move on to the rest of the course and then have a big party at the end of the course. If he does his weaves I get really happy and tell him what a good boy he is after he finishes his weaves and then move on.

Bosley- I'm thinking that's whats happening. I think the last trial I really shot his confidence down by trying the weaves over and over and him not getting it during that trial somewhat shut down his confidence in them in trials.

Feisty- Girl
Barked: Mon May 6, '13 4:03pm PST 
Good advice from Bailey and Bosley.

I very much agree, don’t stop and try to fix training or handling issues in the ring, keep moving. It’s hard, I know, I’m guilty of doing it too on occasion.

Try going to some fun matches instead, which is an excellent way to proof behaviors and build confidence in a trial-like setting.

I had to move my hand back and forth which I usually don't have to do.

How did you train the weaves? I ask because I usually associate the above with luring the dog through with treats- which I have to admit is my least favorite method of training weaves. I don’t think it fosters a good understanding of weaving, most dogs you see trained by that method have a slow, inconsistent, and very handler dependent performance that tends to fall apart easily. In that case, I would seriously consider going back and retraining the weaves.
MACH4 PACH2- Aslan

Barked: Mon May 6, '13 9:26pm PST 
I'd post a lengthy response to give you tons of help, but everyone has already said what I would say.

This is stress. Ring issues caused by stress are common. Follow the above advice, and I'd add video yourself practicing weaves at home and doing weaves in competition. Watch YOURSELF. Look for the slight differences in vocal tone and body language. Look for very slight differences. You'll probably see some stress signals coming from you too. smile
Shadow- *CGC*CL2*CL3- *

Is it time for- agility yet?
Barked: Tue May 7, '13 4:26am PST 
I trained him with 2x2s. He is not dependent on me during practice. I can run different ways, rear cross, front cross before he exits, and be ahead or behind him with no issues.

Thanks Aslan. I plan on getting a camcorder as soon as I can to start recording practices and trials to see what the differences are.