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Weave Poles

Activity description Weave Poles 1

It can be the simplest equipment. These required no modification whatever. They are step in fence posts designed for temporary electric fences. They are light weight and quick to set up. That is what I wrote when I first created this page. What I didn't realize due to my lack of experience was that in using them I taught my dog to go slow. I also taught a weave pole performance that required more flexing of the back. What I learned since then is that safer weave pole performance is straigher. The dog flexes a little, and the poles flex a little. The dog will be pushing against the pole as they move forward. For the electric fence post type of poles rubbing against them is not particularly comfortable because the surface is full of ridges. So the dog makes a bigger arc to reduce contact. This both slows the dog down and increases back bending. If the dog is small enough this might not be an issue. I don't have the experience to say.

Weave Poles 2 This set is a bit more work, but has advantages. I use replacement fiberglass tent poles (see your local camping supplies source) and then put the PVC poles over them. The result is a set of weaves that will flex as the dog pushes through.
Weave Poles 3
In this picture you can see some black fiberglass poles already set up and some lying on the ground. These are the poles that are usually strung together with elastic cord for dome type tents. You can by them as replacement sets from sports and camping supply stores. They are very flexible. In soft ground I find it fastest to simply push the poles into the ground. I stand over the pole wrap my hands around the pole with my thumbs pointing down, and push. That usually works only on soft ground. If that is too difficult I may pound them in with a plastic tent stake hammer. Don't use a metal headed hammer because the poles may split or break. If they don't pound in easily then I prefer to make a pilot hole using one of those giant nails. The longer your fiberglass poles, the less the risk that a fast moving dog will shove the PVC pipe up right over the top. I don't have a fast poles dog, so its never happened to me, but I can see if the dog causes a lot of flex and is pushing it might happen.

Weave Poles 4 I use heavy plastic "caution" tape for my distance guides(purchased at the hardware store). I fastened plastic tarp grommets through the tape to maintain a consistent distance. In this picture the grommet is at the "C" in "CAUTION". You can get these grommets in the camping sections of many stores. All you need is a hammer, they make their own holes. You can have different tapes with different poles distances according to the particular rules you will be competing under. That helps avoid the situation in which you have been training with weaves set at one distance apart only to encounter a different distance in competition.

Stretch the tape out on the ground, and put the poles right through the grommet holes. The tape with grommet holes works well for both the step in poles shown above, and the fiberglass poles plus PVC system. In the picture above I removed the tape after installing the fiberglass poles just by sliding the grommets up over the tops of the fiberglass poles. Usually, however, I leave the tape in place. The dogs don't seem to mind and it partly simulates the weaves base of competition poles.

Weave Poles 5
Once you have set up your fiberglass poles just drop PVC pipe over them. OH! And these poles are yellow because they are not your standard PVC pipe. They are the same outside diameter, but are fiberglass and very light. As colorful as they are they are probably not something you will want to use because they are way too expensive for this use. I just had them around from a kid's sports equipment set. Regular PVC will work just as well. Striping the poles with colored plastic electricians tape will make them look great.

The agility equipment page provides a variety of suppliers for making your own weave poles, more designs to support a variety of training methods, and even competition grade sets.

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Copyright © 1996-2003, Diane Blackman     Created: September 13, 1996     Updated February 27, 2006    

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