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.


🙂 Are you new to the Agility Fusion Blog?
If so, welcome! Here you will enjoy daily tips and interesting news on the subject of agility, dog ownership, and life! (click here for this week’s most current blogs). Not only that, but every month we have a fun contest! If you are not a member yet, I suggest you climb to the top of this page and click on the Registerbutton. You only have to do it once, and you will be good for all future contests!


105 Comments on “The Word on Weave Pole Spacing

  1. I am an agility novice. That said, my American Pit Bull Terrier has mastered the weaves, in so much as accuracy – but she is slow as molasses! I’m sure the better part of that has to do with my inexperience; but I will say we recently tried the 24 inch spaced weaves in class and it made a huge difference. I don’t know if it was somehow more comfortable for her; but she actually picked up a good amount of speed going through them!

  2. Having small dogs, I will not purchase the new weaves because at their size I don’t think it makes a difference…either your dog knows how to weave or not.
    But I am very happy for the bigger dogs, I’ve had larger breeds in the past and anything that makes it safer long-term for any dog is a good thing. I think it will make it more fair and safer all around, and that’s something we all want.

  3. IMO, the change cannot come fast enough. We’re starting to see 24″ poles more and more often in AKC competition here in New England(legal but not required) – I think mainly because the hosting facilities own exclusively 24″ poles. I’m hopeful that the AKC agility board will take the committees recommendations and officially mandate exclusively 24″ spacing…

    My dog on both 20″ and 24″ poles (the day after my new 24″ poles arrived):

  4. I have a very large Rhodesian Ridgeback 30″ and welcome the change. Sometimes for the safty of all dogs people have to be inconvienced. If you have just purchased the smaller spacing poles- you should have waited. This has been in the works for sometime now. If you need to retrain spacing just get the stick in the ground poles and save up for a new set when you have to train a new dog. That’s my plan.

  5. I have a tall standard poodle, and although he does fine with the current weaves, I think this will be better for him both for health and speed. I already have weave poles, and will not buy new ones at this time, but when he’s trying to go fast and under the pressure of the match, I think the 24 inch should help, not hinder.

  6. I have not had an opportunity to try the new spacing and my concern was that it would cause problems for my dog. However the preceding comments seem to indicate that most dogs are adapting very well. If that is the case, and it better medically for the larger dogs, than I am all for it.

  7. Safety should be our primary concern when playing with our dogs. I’m glad to hear some more experienced handlers say that smaller dogs don’t seem to be affected with the extra distance. I hope I got this in on time. I sent a comment several weeks ago but since I don’t see it in the postings, I guess I did something wrong. Technology is not my strong point. I’d love to win the video.

  8. My Lab and I do agility. My club has been using the 24″ poles and I think he is going faster through them. I will continue to practice with my old poles since I use them just to make sure he enters correctly and will go through all 12. I think the 24″ poles will be safer for all the bigger dogs and unfortunately the little ones will have more ground to cover.

  9. I am very happy about the new weave pole spacing. I have a 16″ dog, a Jack Russell Terrier, who trained on 18″ poles, and is now weaving on 21″ or 22″, mostly in NADAC but I think the wider the better for all dog’s health and longevity in the sport. I hope USDAA follows suit as well.

    Nancy and Stewie JRT

  10. I am excited for the new weave pole spacing. I had big dogs who had a tough time with the weaves, and I think this would have made it easier for them. Now I am starting with a new puppy (not agility training yet–just basic obedience) and I am glad to know that those who use the new spacing say it works equally well for small dogs.

  11. My Sheltie’s favorite obstacle is the Weave Poles and either is fine for us, but I am all about avoiding Injuries to any of the dogs.

  12. As a owner and handler of a Labrador Retriever, I think this will be better for him. I haven’t tried it, but plan to in the next few days to see if there’s a difference. I think there will be, at least for large dogs.

  13. I am thrilled about the new 24″ spacing. My 25″ Lab can be around 4 poles and I worry what that can do to his body in the long ter. Asan AKC judge who has judged several trials that have the 24″ polesI have seen no problems with the very small dogs wit hthem. I remember one 8 pound pomeranian that just flew through them. Challenges in agility vary greatly for different size dogs, tunnel are difficult forthe giant breeds, off courses are more of an issue for them, the A frame may be a challenge for some smaller and long backed dogs. The hiehgt is lowering for the smallest dogs. All in all I think the committee’s recommentations are very good and take into account issue for all dogs as best as possible.
    As to having to purchase new poles, clubs will not have to purchase new ones right away, but will be given time extra time to purchase them, they will not be required as soon as the new rules take affect.

  14. Weave poles, a challenge for us at any spacing. Having a “not-your-typical agility dog.” a Maltese, I can see him having some trouble. He has spun in the weaves and still manage to “save it.” That being said, I think it will be safer for the big guys. That’s the most important thing.

  15. I am a strong fan of safety first before anything and feel this is important for the safety for the larger dogs. On the other hand, what about the smaller dogs. They are still required to run the same course, the same heights as the larger dogs. In this respect AKC needs to look at all the obstacles, etc to make sure it is safe for all size dogs or accomodate the course for the different size dogs. Yes, they adjust the time but that is it. I want my dog to do the best she can do but I always look at two things first: safety and more importantly is she having fun, then we excell from there.

  16. As a health care professional and former back surgery patient I am cautious of twist and turns to the spinal cord. I remember the pain all too well and don’t want to expose my pup to the same misery. As a novice, our first competition will be in January, I have invested in 22″ weave poles. Hopefully, this won’t make a difference. My dog is a female Vizsla, whose not very large for her breed. However, I am happy for any changes that take our dogs’ health into consideration. I may need to ask for new weave poles for my birthday in April.

  17. Just a few inches can make a huge difference. The dogs will have to relearn weaves. Why would we want to do that when the weaves are so difficult to begin with.

  18. Change is good. I know that people will not be used to the new spacing and a typical reaction is to try to resist change. Try it, you may like it (or perhaps your dog will!) The only downside is that many of us will have to buy or make new weave pole sets.

  19. It’s great for the larger dogs if research shows that it’s better for their health to change the spacing to 24 inches between weave poles. I’d like to see studies about changing the spacing of the weave poles for the smaller dogs before any change though. The goal is to do these obstacles in a safer, healthy manner to lengthen the amount time we can do agility with our dogs. I think information is needed before smaller dogs are subjected to changes that might not be healthy or prudent. Why can’t there be two sets of weaves with different spacing for smaller dogs? After all the A frame is adjusted, why not weaves too?

  20. I don’t compete so am probably not running my Aussies at the speeds of some of you folks – but my thought is that once the dogs know the behavior well, a change in the spacing will not affect them after their first run through. I have ‘stick-in’ weave poles and my ground is now frozen so can’t use them – but you can be sure that next spring I will try the 24″ spacing.

  21. Equipment specifications should address canine health and safety first. Tradition is hardly a rationale reason for keeping the old spacing. Weave pole spacing should safely accommodate the largest, longest dogs.

  22. I love the two by two’s we are new to the weave poles and my Kiya loves learning to weave with them she knows the correct entry. We are up to weave four poles almost in a straight line. I would love to win Susan Garrets DVD it would be a great learn asset.

  23. I do believe 24″ spacing is better for the dogs, and I like having standardized spacing. I hope more venues follow the standard spacing idea. The only thing I don’t like is the fact that 24″ pole spacing makes it harder to fit 12 poles in my practice area! But it is worth it for less stress on the dogs.

  24. I am very happy with the decision to go to 24″ — having fast German Shorthairs I think the bigger spacing will benefit them greatly.

  25. I LOVE the new spacing for weave poles! I have a 3yr. old, 48 pd Border Collie who has always struggled with the old 20″ spacing. I could never trust that he was going to stay in the poles. He also goes so darn fast through them, he builds momentum, then extends his stride & ends up popping a pole. We’ve been training the new 24″ spacing since July…LOVE it! It’s hard for me to get him to make a mistake now!

  26. I haven’t trained weaves yet-but will train on the 24″, particularly if it is safer for my dogs. I am in favor of anything that will increase the safety and decrease the strain on my dog’s body.

  27. I too am new to agility & just “broke down” & purchased expensive weave poles. Ahhhg, I wish I knew things were going to change, but the big picture is I believe it will be better for our dogs health & that’s what matters most!

  28. I am new to agility and am almost 11 years old. I plan to compete with my collie, so I am glad that the new standard is 24″.

  29. I think this change is a great improvement. For everyone competing in agility with their dogs, besides having fun, the #1 priority should be safety. I think the 24″ spacing will help to make dogs just starting out with weave poles to enjoy the obstacle more and also will help them learn it quicker. I don’t think small dogs will notice the difference as much as big dogs will, and I think bog dogs will very much appreiate the extra 2 inches! I think this change will be very beneficial to agility, and promote safer runs and will hopefully also promote more Qs!

  30. I am a newbie to agility. Haven’t competed yet. I asked Santa for a set of weave poles for my Welsh Terrier. I am happy to read that Affordable Agility is ready with 24″ poles.

  31. Hi Pamela….
    I am pretty new to the sport (4 years approx), so have not been aware of injuries or spinal problems caused by the distance between weave poles as they have been…..I have mostly small dogs of various breeds but do have a boxer and a couple of JR/Dachshund/???? mixes, but 6 of the 9 are small rescues that all love to play Agility even if for some it is just recreational…….I have no strong opinion , but if it is safer for the larger dogs that do hit the poles hard with their shoulders, then I am for it to keep them healthier and less apt to have injuries later in life as a result of the hard back and forth jumping thru the weaves…..So there is my opinion and thanks for asking……

    I am traveling from Mississippi to Iowa for the Holidays… And yes, they all go with me and are great travelers and very patient from point A to point B…..Just wish we had a motorhome for our adventures, but maybe someday……we travel in a 2000 Ford F-150 Supercrew and the backseat is one large doggie bed with the barrier between front and back to keep the pack in the back…..No room for crates until we get there and then I unpack the bed of the truck…..

    Thanks and keeping my fingers X for the drawing/random pick as I love Susan Garrett Instructional videos and do not have the video you are giving away, so will just hope we are lucky…..

    Thank You
    Ron Lewis

  32. Our club just purchased a set of 24 inche weaves and we used them in our trial Thanksgiving Weekend. None of the dogs had a problem with them. I will continue to use my 20 inch weaves for my own training and to start dogs in the weaves when we do not use the 2X2 method. Going between the 20 & 24 inch spacing may be difficult for larger dogs (when going from the 24 back to 20) but I think medium and small dogs will not find it too difficult.

  33. I have Ridgebacks and they have an easier time with the 24″ poles. We have a set of the 2 by 2s that are 24″ and my dogs aren’t as prone to popping out at #10 with a 24″ spacing. I’m definitely on track with this welcomed change!

  34. Who’s to say 24″ is best? What about 26 or 28 or 30″? With
    the upper range of USDAA’s spec at 22″, and AKC & CPE at up to 24″, you could use the same for all venues. I have seen no appreciable difference between 22 & 24″ weaves with my Rottie and Malinois. Both are great. I am glad that USDAA did away with weaves under 20″. The dogs I’ve seen that slam through the poles will do so at whatever the measurement is, and I believe this will cause more shoulder and neck injuries than to spines behind the shoulders.

  35. Two of my Aussies weave really well but one has consistently had problems. I’ll be curious to see if the 24″ spacing makes a difference for any of them. Will my poor weaver have fewer problems or will my good weavers stay good or develop new problems? Won’t know till we try it.

  36. I am new to agility and so eager to learn!! It didn’t take me long to learn that weave poles may be my nemesis… I sure could benefit from the 2 x 2 video! Love the blog!

  37. I’m new to Agility and have little of value to add to this discussion. But since Betsy (Puggle) and I are just learning to weave, we really, really need the 12 X 12 video. So, I’m putting my name in the hat.

  38. I’m all for any change that takes the health and welfare of our dogs into account. I agree with posters who feel that the two years to comply rule for clubs is too generous. Give everyone 6 months to comply – AKC will be surprised how quickly clubs find a way to get the money for new poles…

  39. There’s been a discussion about this change on the PWD list serve. I think it is a good idea to make the spacing a bit wider to save the dog’s spine and make it a tad easier. Have heard from several people on the list that the dogs have a much easier and faster time with the wider spacing, but that if they go back to tigher spacing, they are prone to bang their heads on the poles. So far people are advocating still training to both tighter spacing and wider spacing so the dog will be prepared for whatever comes their way.

    I have stick in the ground poles, so it doesn’t matter to me if the spacing changes.

  40. I can see the problem a large dog could have with the present spacing – I have a “Schnoodle” so it does not really affect me except that I will have to buy new weave poles! Anything that make the agility arena a safer place for our dear friends is a good move.

  41. I, too, love the idea of the 24″ spacing. My english setters do fine on the weaves now but and I might not replace our standard ones but I believe it will be much better for their long backs.

  42. I haven’t personally had the opportunity to try 24″ weaves yet, but I’m looking forward to trying them. I’ve seen my dogs have problems collecting and then popping out at the second pole because they were unable to stay in the weaves. I think that the 24″ spacing will be much easier on their bodies, and let us continue to play agility into their teen years.

    While they are currently legal under AKC regs (and several other venues), my husband is the equipment manager for our local club, and he has been reluctant to change unless it becomes mandated (especially since very few,if any, other area clubs have changed). So I’m hoping AKC will require them.

  43. I love the idea of 24″ spacing, I run dobermans. What I am concerned about is the fact that AKC will allow clubs 2 years to replace their current weave poles. What will happen with all the people who replace and train on the new spacing and then go to a trial that has old poles?

  44. My two schnauzers are still learning to weave, so I am not sure it will make a big difference to us one way or the other, however, the bummer is I recently bought a really nice set of 6 sets of 2x2s that are 21″.


  45. Change, change, oh my! Its inevitable…the more we know the more we improve. I feel that the change is more of a fear of the handler than the agility dog. We humans have a more difficult time adapting. Its all part of the fun to meet new challenges. Also the biggest issue is the safety of our agility dogs which is the first concern of all handlers!!! Lets welcome the change and challenge our abilitys as well as our agility dogs. Lets see what we are made of! wha Hoo!! Happy Holidays and may the new year be full of agility fun!!

  46. I am not sure if my dog and I have even encountered 24” poles yet (we don’t do AKC), but have heard many favorable reviews from others.

  47. I am very new in Agility. In fact, Charlie my Pembroke Corgi and I haven’t even been in competition yet. We recently have begun training in advanced agility. Subsequently, I needed to buy a weave pole set. Fortunately, I purchased a set from Affordable Agility and the beginning weave pole set is already 24″! I can see having 24″ poles would be more beneficial for owners of large dogs and the long backed dogs like my Charlie. So I hame happy that the AKC is making the change. It would be very nice if all the clubs would be consistant and make the same change to 24″ weaves.