I began teaching Beckett to do weaves by taking a two by two weaves class; I used my PVC weaves to make my own 2 x 2's at home. I also used channel weaves at the Krazy Kanines' field. By the end of the outdoor season, Beckett would do six weaves on the channel weaves but only if I popped out the second pole just a bit. If I didn't put that pole out a bit, he would enter correctly but come back in between poles 3 and 4. Two by two's seemed to be causing him a little bit of frustration.
I e-mailed one of the better instructors in the area and asked her if I had made a mistake training with both 2 x 2's and channel weaves. She told me "no" that many people were doing just that. She also told me that many young dogs (or dogs just learning to weave) will miss poles or pop out; she said they have to find a way to "relieve the pressure". She told me that I should reward Beckett any time he came back in between poles 2 and 3.
I didn't really get a chance to try her advice as we had to pack up the agility field and once it started getting dark at night I couldn't even practice at home. I have since purchased two sets of 2 x 2 weave bases and have used them in the basement now for about two weeks. I didn't really get a chance to reward Beckett for coming back between poles 2 and 3; what I did was to start almost from the beginning with just four poles, getting Beckett to enter correctly and drive out to the second pair of poles. We progressed rather quickly to the eight poles that you see him doing in the video. He misses some of his entries but I think that's more my position since there's not a lot of room in the basement to work.
I was so impressed with Beckett's progress I posted this little video this past week on Facebook; but then we went to class on Sunday evening. Beckett wouldn't weave, wouldn't even try, although we were doing some pretty hard entries. Our instructor, Jeannie, did remove all but two poles for him and when she did that he did get the entry.
We practiced again tonight and I had him doing weaves following an obstacle, a jump. I'm hoping that will help him collect better. I also noticed that he doesn't seem to need much arm motion from me to do off side weaves. I always call it "go weave" when we're on the near side and "get out weave" for an off-side weave entry. It seems he's got that part.
Now hopefully I can get him weaving at a location other than my basement, certainly can't run a Standard course there. If the weather holds out and we don't get snow I may try some weaves with him out in the backyard this weekend where we can try moving a bit faster. I'm also entered in a fun trial on 11 Dec, we've been avoiding weaves at fun trials but this time I think we might just have to give them a shot.
I can see that training with 2 x 2's has had the result of a faster drive through the weaves. Tucker and Ceilidh learned on weave-a-matics and while Ceilidh was pretty fast in the weaves neither she or Tucker had independent weaves. Not good for Masters Gambles. Two by twos are also supposed to make the entry easier for the dog. Not sure Beckett has that quite yet, I may go back to one pair of poles and practice entries over the winter so that he nails them from any angle at any distance (well as far away as I can get in the basement).