Dog Agility Pole Striping for Weaves and Jumps

solid weave polesIf you do enough reading you will find yourself in indecision about striping on weave poles and jumps. There are advantages and disadvantages to both sides of the fence. For example, if you use tape to stripe your weave poles and don’t check it for wear, your dog could get a poke in the eye by peeling tape. Lose tape can also catch your dog’s hair and cause a pole to fall or worse, scare your dog. Painting is good if you don’t want to re-tape poles from time to time, but that requires a more work initially.

But what about it? Should you stripe your poles or not? This may come as a surprise to many involved in agility competing, but you may encounter poles that are not striped.  Or they may be striped up too high, out of your dog’s line of sight. The question is if that is enough to cause your dog to miss an entry or misjudge the height on a jump? It’s up for debate! One reader said that his dog ran by the weaves 3 times before finally ‘finding’ them, because at home he only practices with striped poles. Others disagree, saying the dog’s don’t pay any attention to the stripes, and the dog was probably missing them for other reasons.

One of these reasons can be color blindness. While dogs see in color, they do not see all colors as we do. For example, a red and white weave pole may be a sharp contrast to us against a grass field, while the dog sees the red as green and it blends into the grass.

This is what we found when we research the venue requirements for the poles in both weaves and jumps:

Weave Poles: AKC required. CPE recommended. USDAA & NADAC no mention.
Jump Bars: AKC no mention. CPE required.  NADAC no mention.

A great suggestion for this dilemma is to use both!  Stripe your weave poles halfway up. Now you can use them striped side down for striped poles and turn them over for solid poles. For your jumps, stripe some of your bars and leave some solid. Then you can alternate or use both on a small course. In this way your dog will be ready for either scenario.