Monday, August 17, 2009

Weave Pole Spacing - The Debate

(Photo by Marsha Kingsley)

Recently I’ve heard more and more debate on weave poles spacing. It mentioned earlier Spring at an Ann Braue Seminar I was attending; shortly there after in an editorial in Clean Run, and today, it’s a topic on Susan Garrett’s blog. (see editorial link and Susan’s Blog address below).

The discussion seems to center around the larger dogs and the bending of the spine and strain on the shoulders. While I currently don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other on the topic, it would sure be nice if all venues could come to some sort of agreement on weave pole spacing.

If they could narrow it down to 22-24” to me, that would be helpful. WHY? In my opinion it’s much easier for the dog to do the wider spaced weave poles. That being said, if you ask a dog to go from 24” poles to say, 20” poles, they are more than likely going to struggle. It’s pretty obvious why, the dog simply, (or not), needs to bend it's bodies more in order to navigate the closer spaced poles.

From a competitor standpoint I’m not going to set my dog up to fail by working them on 24” poles. At least by practicing them closer together they are 'hopefully' staying flexible in their spine. I have both 20" and 22" poles.

Let’s face it; we practice the weave poles at home or at class a lot more than we actually perform them at a trial. By doing this however, we hurting our dogs? I don’t know? That’s a good question. Obviously, no one is looking to injury their dog or cause him/her pain. In this case it appears there is a solution, although not a simple one.

If you have some time, look at the links provided below.

Susan has a survey listed on her site as well.

AKC and NADAC = 20-24” spacing

USDAA = 18 – 21” spacing

Just some food for thought while you're training and trialing.

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