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.
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).
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.