a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: 24" Weave poles

Monday, August 17, 2009

24" Weave poles

SUMMARY: Should USDAA change weave pole spacing?

I've had 4 dogs in agility. Two (so far) have had a bit of arthritis in their necks and/or backs. Don't know that it's caused by agility--two previous dogs who didn't do agility also had arthritis. But I know that 24-inch spacing on the poles is much easier on dogs' spines than the current USDAA 20-21". One of our own club members did some overhead videotaping--unfortunatly don't think it's online. But there are other videos available if you search.

International competition (FCI) now uses 24" spacing. The Canadian associate of USDAA, AAC, is going to 24" weaves next year. AKC and the Canadian equivalent, CKC, now use 24". CPE is probably in the same arena--the current rules stae "21" to 23" from center to center with no more than a 1" variance"--which means that 24" (if they're no more than that) are OK.

USDAA has recently reviewed the topic and decided not to change, and has said that the issue is closed to any further discussion. I have no idea why. Sure, weave poles aren't cheap and not every club can afford to replace them (or every competitor--I'd want to replace my own, and they're just not cheap). But still, I'm a strong advocate for the wider spacing and for consistency (so dogs aren't going from, say, 20" to 24" from weekend to weekend or ring to ring), but I can deal with a phase-in period of maybe a couple of years.

It also presents a different course-building challenge--if you add 3-4" of spacing between all poles, the weaves are now 3 to 4 feet longer than before! But we can learn to live with that, I'm sure.

Susan Garrett has posted about the topic.

and there is now a 3-question survey on whether USDAA should allow 24" weaves. Please take the survey. Please go and vote for the increased space. Even if your dogs seem happy with the current spacing, please consider other dogs whose lot might be improved by the change.



  1. Amen. I was pleasantly shocked to hear of the AAC's decision to change to 24" weaves. Honestly didn't think it would happen for at least a few more years. Here's hoping USDAA gets on board soon too.

  2. I can't understand why they're so stubborn about it. I like USDAA but they're lumbering dinosaurs when it comes to changing things for the good of the dog. The sport has changed so much as far as speed, training and course design goes, I wish they'd take that into consideration.

    And the idea that we should have to prove the tight spacing is a problem by providing them with actual injury data is ridiculous. How do you realistically document/prove a repetitive motion injury from the poles in a dog given that they can't talk to us and they have so many other activities in their lives that effect their health?

    The video is so compelling, I wish they'd take a look at it and rethink their priorities.

  3. I'm glad that both AAC and CKC have made the switch to 24", even though I have small dogs -- I can't imagine how much stress the medium and large-sized dogs' spines, shoulders, etc. are under after doing weaves over and over and over again throughout their careers.