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Weave Pole Spacing

Posted on 08/17/09 19 Comments

There has been much debate about the “best” spacing between weave poles. In Europe all the weave pole bases I have seen have been on 24″ centres. I don’t know if they ever where different or how we here in North America started with have poles as close as 18″ apart but once you start something it does become difficult to change it.

Weave Pole fun--with wider pole bases I could get more dogs in this shot:)
Weave Pole fun--with wider pole bases I could get more dogs in this shot:)

The AAC (Canadian governing body) and the CKC (our Kennel club) have both made the move to 24″ poles. They have done it by allowing a tighter spacing (I think it must be greater than 20″ as of Jan 2009 and recently the change was made to include 24″ for AAC). In the United States change has been a bit slower. The AKC allows the 24″ poles but the USDAA has been dragging their paws a bit on it (although they have eliminated the 18″ bases).

I personally think 24″ poles are safer for the dogs; their shoulders their hips, their ribs, you name it. Plus lets get some uniformity world wide within the sport. I know changing the weave pole bases will be expensive (does anyone want to buy a set of 18″ bases for cheap:)). But lets put it this way. Say a new set of poles cost $200, compare that to 4 weeks of rehab for a torn up shoulder and you come out way ahead (plus you won’t suffer the agony of watching your dog being unsound).

Buzzy expresses his weave pole joy.
Buzzy expresses his weave pole joy.

If you run a mini dog and are concerned that the increased weave pole base would cause difficult in the dog’s rhythm I can tell you about my case study of 2. The first time I went to Europe to compete I took DeCaff (13 1/2″ at the shoulder) and Twister 11″ at the shoulder). Neither dog had seen 24″ weave pole space prior to our arrival in Europe and neither dog had so much as a hiccup in their performance. I know there are youtube video’s floating around showing dogs weaving both spacing just do a search on youtube.

In order to help the USDAA move along their decision I have put together a really short survey. It is 3 questions. Please take a moment, click on the link and answer the yes or no question for me if you will. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=TJacTWz_2boyBBzqznzc8LtA_3d_3d

So far I have 711 responses; 77% currently run in USDAA, 14% indicate they plan on it and 6% state they would if USDAA would make this change to wider weave pole bases. In total 94.3% are in favor of the change 5.7% against. Some of the reason opposed are; ” I have a mini dog so there isn’t a benefit to me  so why change ?”(I tad narrow minded in my opinion. kinda like “. . I’m okay Jack, so what if your dog gets hurt” ). Also someone stated her dog competed until she was 12 1/2 years old with no issues on tighter bases. First of all no issues that you are aware of, secondly what about those dogs whose career was cut short, what if by making this change we can make the sport healthier for more dogs. Again please think beyond your own backyard. Some dogs on video have their spines bent in three different places when they weave–how can that be good long term?

Today I am grateful for those that took the time to answer the survey (even if they didn’t agree with me:)), thank you once again.


  1. Hannah says:
    Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 3:02pm

    Im just starting out at agility and have a Border Collie. Bree is just over 1 year and a half. Im not sure how to teach some things.Im open to suggestions


  2. Dogweavepoles.Info says:
    Saturday, August 3, 2013 at 5:50pm

    Brilliant difficulties in this article. My business is incredibly satisfied to see your report. Thanks a lot a great deal with this particular waiting for touching a person. Would you like to kindly drop me a e-mail?


  3. Laurie Graichen says:
    Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 11:54pm

    Am training my first dog using 2x2s and LOVING it. The prior 2 were totally shaped, starting on slightly offset poles (a la Jane Simmons Moake but not on leash) but can’t imagine teaching weaves using anything but 2×2 ever again.

    For those of us who trial in venues with different pole spacing, at what point in weave training do you introduce different spaced poles? Do you want everything just about perfect under all circumstances at the training spacing before changing to different-spaced weaves? Do you recommend training at 21-22 and then going to 24, or vice versa? Would you ever use different spaced poles in the same sequence (a set of 12 at 24 inches and another set of 12 at 21 inches, not 21 and 24 inch on the same set of 12 poles!)


  4. Erica says:
    Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at 9:58pm

    I believe that NADAC and CPE are making the switch to 24″ soon as well (they’ve been at 22″). I mostly trial in NADAC and do some CPE and am glad to see the change. I’ve done a little USDAA in the past and enjoy many things about the venue. I am not sure I will continue to do it though if it doesn’t go over to 24″ as well. It doesn’t seem fair to get my dog used to 24″ and then to go back to 20″. And I really think it is better for their bodies to weave with the wider spacing.


  5. Brittney says:
    Sunday, August 30, 2009 at 8:11pm

    I have 2 pugs who are just learning the weaves…we have stick in the ground poles-so I can change the spacing……we have tried 20″, 22″ and 24″….and they are happiest and confident at 24″. At 20″ they are slow and will pop out when they try to speed up….at 24″ they are happiest and can go accurately with more speed. I am hoping 24″ will become the standard. Better even for small dogs!


  6. heather says:
    Saturday, August 22, 2009 at 11:25pm

    I’m currently in the process of getting some 2X2 bases made and refurbishing an old set of poles. I teach a couple of students and I’m on the fence about whether I should get ahead of the 8 ball – assuming it is going to drop – and go with 24″ spacing or if I should have them manufactured to 21″ instead. I don’t have any dogs of my own who are currently competing, but I don’t want to set my students up for difficulty when they go to a different venue. Do you still train the smaller distances with your students, or has everyone made the switch to 24 even if in competition they’ll likely be closer together ???

    Thanks for your time,


  7. Megan says:
    Friday, August 21, 2009 at 7:02am

    This discussion doesn’t really involve me since I live in Australia but I would like to comment on the weave pole spacing. We have 2 main Club organisations here, the main one being the CCC(Q) (ie Canine Control Council of Queensland) and ADAA (Agility Dog Assoc of Aust) which is relatively new in comparison. ADAA base most of their rules etc around the FCI and the CCCQ is run by the National Kennel Council and both weave bases are different. CCCQ run at 600mm (24inches) and ADAA is 550mm (or 22inches). I have a large German Shepherd and I really notice the difference when competing at different events (not that I get to many at all!!). Maybe its my training but he really takes about 4 or 5 poles to get his rhythm, so for me I notice the difference!
    Then again maybe if I went back and re-trained the weaves in the 2×2 method I may not notice! I do have the dvd, just gotta get moving!!!


  8. Shannon says:
    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 8:53pm

    Thank you Susan for putting together the vote for USDAA, I’ll keep training my dogs on the shorter bases until they change but I sure hope they make that switch quickly. I know my Dane will appreciate a couple extra inches! I don’t know if it will help my border collies with out of place ribs but it can’t hurt, I’d sure like to see them stretch out a little more. And really, it would be nice to have consistency across venues.


  9. Sherry in MT says:
    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 9:58am

    The 24″ for us (I run a small dog right now) wouldn’t bother me, what makes me crazy is that it isn’t consistent over venues. So my vote would be – yes do 24″ and do it across ALL venues. Pie in the sky hope I know but alas, I must hope!


  10. Andrea says:
    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 at 8:08am

    Susan, I recently purchased 2×2 weaves and your DVD to begin training my newest rescue. I had originally looked for 2×2 weaves with larger spacing, but was told that you personally recommended 20 inch spacing for the 2×2’s, as it is easier for the dogs to learn on the tighter spacing and then go to larger spacing, rather than learning on wider spacing and then being faced with a 20 inch set. Is this accurate? Or do you recommend 2×2’s with wider spacing now?

    (BTW – NADAC also allows 24″ weaves.)


  11. Anne says:
    Monday, August 17, 2009 at 10:50pm

    I have a 15 inch tall Jack Russell who has absolutely no problem with the 24 inch spaced polls. In fact, he stretches out and drives through them beautifully. Even this small dog seems much more comfortable on the wider spaced poles. The shorter distance poles might not be as hard on a smaller dog, but my small dog loves the looser spacing. I’d love to see them allowed in all venues.


  12. Julia Lane says:
    Monday, August 17, 2009 at 10:43pm

    Susan, thank you for taking the time to set up the poll, collect data & share it with us. My seven-year-old 22.75″ Dalmatian has suffered chronic shoulder and mid-back injuries due to the shorter weave poles (in the opinion of her chiropractor). What else can we do to lobby USDAA to allow for 24-inch poles?


  13. Jerry Burns says:
    Monday, August 17, 2009 at 10:05pm

    The only time my Cocker Spaniel (Molly) urinated in a show ring was a show in La while she was weaving. I believe she initially injured her acl at this. This initial injury led to a torn acl later on. I’m in favor of increasing the spacing if it will decrease the possibility of injuries to any dogs.


  14. Nat says:
    Monday, August 17, 2009 at 9:22pm

    I answered the survey, and I agree that it’s a great thing that AAC and CKC have decided to change. I run small dogs, but thinking of all the quick-weaving larger dogs who do so many weaves in their lifetime, I’m definitely willing to weave my guys at 24″ if it means that the larger dogs will stay sound for as long as possible. Weaving 20″ for so many years just isn’t worth it if the dogs develop problems that will decrease their quality of life.



  15. Marco says:
    Monday, August 17, 2009 at 5:32pm

    I live in Belgium and when I started agility 8 years ago the weave pole space was 20″. A couple of years later almost every weave pole had a 24″ space. For a long time the FCI regulation had been allowing weave pole space from 20″ to 24″ but since 2007 the only correct space is 24″. In my opinion it is a good thing everybody in Europe seems to agree on the 24″ poles.


  16. Nancy Bell says:
    Monday, August 17, 2009 at 4:18pm

    I have an 10 1/2 year old lab. I also have a 5 yr old lab, who weaves wonderfully and it wasn’t until I looked very closely at her body type and my older labs body type that I realized my older lab just wasn’t built for weaving. . Weaves have always been a challenge for us. Her body just doesn’t bend in the proper places. I have tried her on the 24 inch bases… what a difference… she actually moves quite quickly throught them compared to the 20 inch bases. I’m hoping she stays healthy enough to still be competing when they do the change over. My younger lab loves the 24 inch bases too. Seems to have a lot more speed going through them.


  17. Nancy Frensley says:
    Monday, August 17, 2009 at 2:36pm

    Both a training associate of mine and me have a question on the2X2 system and couldn’t find another place to ask it. Why do you recommend setting the jump set 14′ apart when you add the second set.
    We just can’t find the explanation for this.

    On the 24″ spacing, I think I would favor it. It seems that it gives the dog more time to find the second pole on a difficult entry angle.

    And, bless you for the 2X2 system. My little Aussie was missing entries and popping out at number 10 (AKC, Excellent) consistently until I started retraining with the 2X2 systemg


  18. Michelle says:
    Monday, August 17, 2009 at 11:17am

    Here are links to two of the videos posted on YouTube. This first one shows the timing difference between two dogs using the 20″ and 24″ poles. Each dog was faster in the 24″ poles, even though there is more ground to cover:


    This one shows how dogs, big and small, weave more freely using the larger spaced poles:


    Thanks for posting this topic Susan. The more we think about the well being of our dogs, the more advanced the sport will become!


  19. Tracy says:
    Monday, August 17, 2009 at 10:18am

    I run a mini dog who has competed in North America and in Europe – he had no problem doing the 24″ the first time he saw them and no problem going back to the shorter spacing here in the States.


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