The Word on Weave Pole Spacing

storm20in20weavesYou’ve probably heard the news by now (see one my previous post on the subject) that AKC is slated to announce some changes, including a new weave pole requirement: 24″ weave spacing.  Most people (especially the big dog owners) are in favor of this spine-saving change, and look forward to the official announcement that is supposed to happen in January of 2010.   Others don’t like the idea because it means they need to buy a new set of weave poles.  What do YOU think about it?  Are you concerned or do have any questions? Is this the first time you’ve heard about it?

As a member of Agility Fusion, your opinion on this subject is valuable to me.  To thank you for your time, I would like to give away a free copy of Susan Garret’s popular video “2 x 2’s: 12 Weave Poles in 12 Days“!  This is a $69.95 value!  On Dec. 30th 2009 I’ll randomly pick a winner from the list of comments.  I understand not everyone has a strong opinion, but whatever you can contribute will be helpful, and will qualify you to win.

To post your comment, scroll to the bottom (or click on “comments” button in the upper right corner) and enter it.  It will show up shortly after.  (sometimes it takes a few hours).  Make sure you have registered at least once in the past on this blog site, so we can notify you if you are a winner.


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105 Comments on “The Word on Weave Pole Spacing

  1. I run Rotweillers. I will look forward to the 24 inches because when they get moving faster, it is often the last weave pole they miss because they can not twist quite enough.

  2. I think it is fantastic that 24″ weavepoles will be required. I compete with a Shiba Inu, Rhodesian Ridgeback and Canaan dog. These are not your typical agility breed dogs. My Shiba and Rhodesian do not “bend” like a border collie and other breeds that are more structurally built for agility. I had the opportunity to compete with the 24″ poles recently and my dogs were faster and “happier”. Happy is what it’s all about!

  3. I would like to see the poles changing to 24″ spacing because of the risk of injury to the spine in the smaller spacings. I have whippets and have not tried the larger spacing yet, but I am looking forward to the opportunity. I have friends with deerhound and wolfhounds who can’t wait to see the change.

  4. We LOVE the 24″ inch weave pole spacing! I have a 24″ Dal who has great weaves, regardless of the spacing, but is clearly more comfortable in the 24″ weaves. Personally, I have yet to see any dogs (big or small) struggle with the change. For us, this is a much welcomed change and I’d love to see other venues jump on board!

  5. I believe that all in all the 24″ weaves will be a great improvement. I can see how it will improve speed and I believe it will be easier to train on than the tighter ones. I have Jack Russells and they don’t care if they are wider, they just stretch further and get more speed.

  6. I am anxious to see how my Springer does. It seems like a good idea, especially for the bigger dogs. I am wondering if all trials will convert immediately? If not it could be confusing for both dog and handler.

  7. I cannot express how happy I am that they have made the change to 24″ spacing! When you have a Cane Corso, like me, it’s hard for him to get into thse tight poles, which caused lots of popping out. He tries to hard to single step the 19″ poles but can’t fit. I’m so happy that finally, my big boy will be able to single step with ease! It will make him so happy, as well as my border collie and myself! This will prevent spine damage to the big dogs as well as the smaller ones. Thanks AKC!

  8. We learned on the shorter spacing in the US with my first dog, and then moved to Europe with the second and trained with 24″ spacing. You do not see as many dogs popping out, and I think it is because there is less pain or discomfort caused by weaving the longer poles.

  9. Hooray! This is an important step in helping our dogs have safer runs and keeping their backs and joints healthy. I too hope it trickles down to the other venues. I’ve watched many of my friends and competitors withdraw their dogs from runs with narrow weaves rather than risk injury. This is great news.

  10. We just started into agility this past February with our rescue puppy, Jenna, so we were first introduced to the 20 inch weave poles. However, in the meantime, our girl, who ended up being half Great Dane is now almost 90 pounds and stands 28 inches at the shoulder. While she was able to handle the 20 inch poles, we re-rigged our home poles to be 24 inch. It took awhile for her to get used to the new distance, but she is now plowing through the 24 inch ones like an expert. Also, great not to see her body so contorted trying to make the sharp turns of the 20 inch ones. My only thought is why not have both size available? Go by height. Let the little dogs have the 20 inch poles and let the bigger dogs do the 24 inch. They have to change the jump heights. Why not have one set of 20 inch poles on one side of the ring and the 24 inch on the other and have the judges work the appropriate size into the course depending on height of dog?

  11. My Border Collie, Chaney was having trouble with the weaves because of her speed. She hits the poles so hard that they come back to hit her in the face causing her to pop out at times. We have been showing with 24′ weaves at local trials for the last 3 months and she has had much better performance with the weaves. I think the new spacing will be very good for our fast dogs.

  12. AKC NEW REGULATION on 24″ weaves.
    My 6 yr old Aussie girl has had to do it ALL! 22 inch/or 24 inch in her agility career. I usually know ahead of time which set the club putting on the trial will use and practice on that particular width a few days beforehand. I run trials in different venues that have different spaceing on weaves – so had to make her a versatile dog on the weaves. She actually prefers the tighter weaves because that is what she learned on originally before I had to do the 24″ with her. HMMMMM – Now I have a young border collie pup that I will be starting shortly and wonder what is the best spaceing to start her with?
    Logic seems to dictate the tighter ones – then the wider spacing will be easier — still debating that one in my mind. Versatility is the ultimate goal – so the more versatile a dog can perform then the more brain and muscles power the dog has to put to use. The goal for success is to have fun doing it with your dog – and certainly the 24″ spacing is definitely physically more kind on the dogs.

  13. We were lucky enough to try out the 24″ weaves at a trial recently. It was the BEST! My Aussie girl had no problem with the spacing and actually seemed to fly through it much faster. She even had a smile on her face. No, I didn’t see it when we were running. Someone took photos and sure enough–lots of teeth and tongue!

  14. Since this would put less stress on the dog’s spine, I’m for the 24″ spacing. I think it would still make the weaves exciting and a challenge, even with the wider spacing.

  15. This AKC change is just as exciting as when USDAA finally lowered the AF. My friends in the Northwest have had 24″ in trials for a while and I was so jealous.

    My 24″ labs get Chrio treatments every month and “sore back” was a given. We have had the 24″ poles in trials for last 3 months and their backs are no longer sore.

    We have been competing for a while with either 20″ or 22″ spacing. Last summer I purchased 22″ and will keep them for practice and USDAA trials may still have 22″

  16. I love the new spacing! My 7 yr Rottweiler is very good but was very careful on the weaves and as a result we could never use them as part of our fast plan. Since we have been using the 24″ in class she has become very fast on the weaves and loves them, smiling all the way. Many of my clients have also tried them and have the same positive response!

  17. I love the change, but wish the 24″ weaves would have been available when I bought my sets of weaves last summer

  18. Added manually by Agility Fusion:

    Hi Pam, I had trouble entering the comment contest so I am emailing you instead. I know more about agility than computers. I would like to say that any safety consideration is valuable to preventing sports injuries to our dogs. It is all about fun and safety.

    I love my new Affordable Agility Tetter Totter and so does Twister. He has already gained more confidence. By the way I use two commands for the obstacle. Walk it and ride it! It helps. ~Catherine Brown

  19. I’m all for rules that promote common sense and safety for the canine athletes. 24″ spacing still provides plenty of challenge for all competitors.

  20. I just learned of the change and like most have the old sets. I have big dogs just learning so were not fastby any means. I’ve worried about possible back & neck problems when I see the others bend between 2-3 poles seemingly at the same time. We have club members with big dogs & small long-bodied dogs with back & neck problems so I’m sure that it will be better for the dogs physically to have more space. I look forward to trying the new poles and maybe the “in” & “out” will make more sense to my dogs. I have a female Rottie that looks at me as if to say, “didn’t we already do that ?” when we do the weave poles. I would love to learn to do 12 poles in 12 days with her.

  21. The 24″ weave pole spacing is more comfortable for the dogs, and IMO all dogs – big dogs, small dogs. All you have to do is watch the dogs weaving 21″ spacing versus 24″ spacing. I have had TWO Giant Schnauzers train up in my agility program and it is really hard for me not to stand there and cringe as they manipulate the 21″ spacing and I have actually advised those teams to pull their dogs if they were ever presented with smaller spacing than that (18″ to 20″) in a trial. Those same dogs weaving in 24″ spacing look like Border Collies weaving!!! In the same breath, to date, I have not had a small dog even seem to notice. My hope is that ALL venues standardize the WP spacing to 24″. We have to think about the dogs and what is best for them. And IMO, when we know better, then we should do better.

  22. I was concerned that the smaller dogs might have a problem with the larger width between poles, but it sounds like a lot of people have already tried it and found the greater distance not to be a problem. I think it’s a good idea as long as the welfare of the dogs has been carefully thought out. I haven’t tried it yet, but I would also train the different widths so that my dogs wouldn’t have a problem whichever poles were used.

  23. I think this is a good thing – it’s is gonna keep the dog’s spine from twisting. Especially for the long backed dogs (ie the corgis). Once the dog knows the obstacle I think the change will be easy to make.

  24. Bravo! Health and safety of our team mates should always be the driving force in equipment decisions and the AKC is definitely making the right move on this one.

    Great call!


  25. I’m lucky as I am just getting started with my Aussie. Our club has already gone to the 24″ and he is training on them. I feel bad for those who purchased the smaller widths and need to go through the expense of getting new ones, but I think in the long run it will be so much better for the health of our dogs and isn’t that the most important thing of all?

  26. I am definitly for the increase spacing not only for the health of the spin but for other less common injuries. Often when my weim tries to go really fast through the weaves, she catches her inside hind leg at the stifle on the pole she has just rounded and crossing in front of. Not only does this inflick the pain of impact but also causes the sudden stop of forward motion by grabbing the back leg. Although not often, I have seen this happen to other large dogs at trials and practice.

    As far as confusing dogs that have to be able to perform both 20″ and 24″. I would think that if you practice 20″ and all other venues are 20″, that two runs a day at an AKC trial won’t cause the dog too much problem. I could see where the dog’s timing might be off causing it to be a bit slower, but it should be safer. I would always choose safety over placements when it comes to my dog.

  27. We used 24″ poles at a recent fun match, while I was busy ensuring my novice old english sheepdog actually managed the weaves, a worker pointed out how much faster she was on the 24″ and how much easier it looked for her to do them.

  28. I love the 24″ spacing. I run shelties and a border collie and they both just love it. My sheltie is 13 and he just flies through them. In watching dogs weave with the 24″ spacing, their spine is not being jolted back and forth. I have seen a couple of dogs who used to avoid them now are finding and weaving so much better. I have watched a lot of little dogs and they, too, seem to love the new spacing. I am so in favor of any improvement that will lengthen a dogs structural life.

  29. I have a set of 12 20 inch poles and a set of 6 20 inch 2x2s, although I do not have Susan’s video. My Belgians have learned, trained and competed with the 20’s. I was overjoyed when the local clubs started using the 24 inch poles and then AKC recommended to its Board that 24 inch become mandatory. Weaving with 20 inch poles bends a dogs spine in THREE places, and because of that, I very seldom practiced weaving. I just purchased 24 ” poles, in fact I chose 6 sets of 2X2’s to make the shipping affordable. The oversize boxes pushes shipping of 12 weave poles to $220 rather than the $100 I paid! Now that I have 24 inch poles, I am practicing distance entries from “around the clock” daily and my dogs are weaving with focus, accuracy and joy. Even if AKC does not approve the new spacing, I know that my dogs’ bodies are being preserved, and that, above all else, is the point.

  30. I’ve been using 24″ at home and our club uses them. So when we entered a trial and I came to their 20″ weave poles, I thought, “Oh them.” There’s a considerable difference just on the performance. My Dobie had a little struggle with them and I found myself having to weave her through. We’re novice, so I wasn’t expecting a bullet, but I think the spacing definitely threw her off.

    The bottom line is that 24″ is kinder to our dogs’ bodies. The small dogs may have a bigger challenge with the wider spacing, but compared to big-dog physical issues with the smaller-spaced weaves, I think the trade-off is worth every expanded inch.

  31. I have built new weaves to train this 24″ change. My dogs do fine with it. I am of the opinion that once they know the obstacle, they know what to look for at any distance. I have Cairn Terriers (8 inch jumpers),and the shorter distance wasn’t an issue for us, but I also run my mom’s Bearded Collie and I can see a big benefit for him! Kudos to AKC for trying to be responsive.

  32. I have not tried the new spacing yet but I think it will be good for the “furries” as there will not be so much pressure put on the spine therefore I am all for it. Not so good that we now have to purchase new 24 inch spacing sets nor the clubs as these will be longer therefore harder to pack and manouvre.

    Having said that I am wondering whether My little guys, 8 inches, will be allowed to carry a GPS system to find their way threw. Where do I apply for permission???? LOL!

  33. I recently purchased the new 24″ spacing poles from you,I’m hoping they work better.I haven’t used them as yet because my trainer still uses the old ones. I’m afraid they will confuse him.He has a trial in a few weeks.If health being the issue here, I’m all for the new 24″.

  34. I haven’t had the opportunity to try the 24″ but it just makes sense that it will improve speed. Has there been any discussion about SCT changes?

  35. While I have a border collie and welcome the change to 24″, I can certainly see the concerns handlers of the smaller dogs have.

    Where I train they have a set of 21″ and 24″ weave polls. I have not noticed any issues with the < 16″ dogs using the 24″ poles and dogs have an amazing ability to adapt quickly and still keep there weaving speed.

    I guess ideally we would have different spacing for various height groups. That would just not be practical due to the costs involved and the amount of time lost in trials for changing weave pole sets.

  36. Based on everything I have read regarding neck and spine issues, I welcome to mandatory 24″ spacing.

    Where I train, we have a set of 24″ and a set of 21″. The 16″ and under dogs seem to adjust to the 24″ poles fairly easily. I can see the argument for the small dogs and even for the very large dogs where they would prefer something even greater than 24″. I am always amazed at the great danes who can squeeze through the poles and even with speed!

    Ideally, there would be changable pole spacing for various heights, but that would be impracticle due to costs to the clubs as well as time during trials to switch out weave pole sets constantly.

  37. well changes are bond to happen with akc as they did.t allow mixed breeds now they do. i have a small dog so it just means it will be more of an chance to pop out. so I will retrain with new spacing.

  38. I do not participate in AKC, but I know this will trickle down to the other venues. Two inches is a big change. I don’t believe the little dogs will even notice it. My medium and large dogs will definitely be happier. Especially the ones that do not like the poles touching them.

  39. We had the chance to use the new poles at a trial a few months ago and our Chinooks didn’t seem to notice the difference. Our small dog friends also didn’t have any problems. I think that the wider spacing will be easier on the dogs backs and necks. I watch video of all of my dogs runs and I always cringe when I watch her snapping her back in the poles.

  40. I think the 24″ spacing will reduce some of the physical stress on the dog’s body. My hope is that using my old weave pole set to train will help teach my young dog the obstacle, and that the wider spacing will enable him to go faster. We don’t know anyone with a 24″ weave set, unfortunately, so it will be awhile before we can try it. It’s too icy to try the stick-in-the-ground kind right now. Looks like I’ll need to start saving for a new set someday!

  41. I have been trialing in AKC for about 1 year now with my 2 1/2 year old golden retriever, and run at the 24″ height. With a bigger dog, I am sure this may be beneficial as far as speed, but not really sure that it will really have any significant long term health benefits. I will not be purchasing a new set of weave poles as I think that it is the understanding of the motion and will not be any problem to adapt. ( when I buy a new set of weave poles it will be because I am tired of replacing the PVC “T’s” at the bottom as my dog flies thru the weaves and often snaps the “T’s”. I think that they should have addressed the tire instead, making it “breakaway” and not allowing a significant turn out of the tire. My dog hasn’t had an accident, but I have seen a couple. The trial I ran in last weekent had a “180” out of a tire. Even though we are becoming quite competive as far as placements in Excellent “B” I don’t try to save time at this obstacle. We drove straight thru the tire and then turned after he was safely thru. That all being said, I am in favor of any changes that make the sport safer for the dogs.

    Randy Roberts
    and Kodiac AX, MXJ

  42. I am really pleased that the AKC is changing to 24 inch spacing. I run dogs in several jump heights ranging from 8″ to 26″ and they all seem to be more comfortable and faster with the wider spacing.

  43. I have mixed feelings about the 24″ weave pole spacing. While it seems to be better for large dogs providing a less torqued path for them through the poles, it seems to have taken away from the actually “weaving” motion for the small dogs. It also provides a new challenge to those who do multiple venues. I have witnessed on many accounts large dogs having difficulties going from the 24″ weaves one weekend to the 20-22″ weaves the next weekend. It is amazing to me how much 2″ actually makes a difference. So I am still on the fence about the whole change.

  44. Our club had two sets of 24″ weave bases built and we used them in October at our AKC trial. There was a lot of controversy about using them but only one dog had a problem with the spacing and only the first time through.
    Once the 24″ spacing becomes standard our dogs will be much happier and healthier.

  45. I heard about the possible change last summer and having a small dog, Corgi, I wasn’t pleased. But since then my instructor has purchased them and that is what we use in class. My little gal has no problem with them. I saw even smaller dogs negotiating them last weekend at our fun league and they had no problem either. Since is will help the spines of the bigger dogs I think it is a good thing. Those of us with smaller dogs will become used to them just like everything else that changes.

  46. Our Corgi (12″ tall) learned on the old standard, but goes even faster on the 24″, and I like it because he doesn’t have to twist his long back so much. Our Scotty (13″ – a ‘giant’ Scotty) doesn’t seem to notice the difference and goes great on either our old set in the back yard, or the 24″ a agility class. So smaller dogs don’t seem to have a problem.

    All the dogs in our agility class seem to take to the 24″ better.

    My understanding is that this will be inline with international competitions.

    At this point, I don’t think we’ll need to buy a new set of weave poles until the old ones we have wear out. And by then the 24″ will probably be standard.

  47. I tried the 24″ spacing at home with my stick in the ground weave poles. To my surprise my dog was faster and didn’t twist soo much. I like it better especially since my dog has Hip dysplasia. I also had just got a brand new set of 20″ so yes I wish I’d knew the change before I got them. I will still use them and my stick in the ground at 24″. My Springer weave like a champ and It doesn’t matter which one I use she will weave. I do like the 24″ better, I think it will be better for medium to big dogs but I don’t know about small dogs, they may not like it.