Luna Lovebug Dog Blog Pages

Monday, 14 July 2014

Making Your Own Weave Poles for Agility

Luna started her agility classes a few months ago. One of the first things we were told was: if you don't buy any other piece of agility equipment for your dog, buy a set of weave poles. This is because learning to perform the weaves well typically takes more time for your dog than most of the other equipment and usually requires some practise in your backyard between classes to really excel.

Unfortunately, a competition weave pole set costs around $200 for six poles (or $350+ for a set of twelve). If your plan is to compete, there is obviously some advantage to using the same type of set that you'll find in competitions from the outset. However, if you are still not sure agility is for your dog, or you are looking for a good, cheap alternative to practice with, you can create your own set of weave poles for a fraction of the cost using this do it yourself method. It requires very basic tools and materials that cost only around $20 from a hardware store.
Most DIY weave pole guides on the internet suggest using PVC for the poles and a base. The advantage to this is that the set can be moved around. However, that construction method forces your dog to skip over the PVC pipe base between each weave pole and will usually lead to them developing an inefficient weaving method that could take a lot of time and effort to correct later on. The below construction guide uses free-standing PVC pipes, supported by a steel rod core, so there is no base pole in the way between each upright pole. This allows the dog to learn how to weave in the most efficient way possible. The downside of this design is that the set is not easily moveable and is more suited to practising the obstacle in isolation (or for adding other obstacles around it). If you want a set that you can move around freely, I would strongly recommend that you invest in a real set with a flat base, rather than make your own with a PVC pipe base.
Making your weave poles
The short video below shows the full process. I have also written out the method below for further reference.
You will need the following items:
  • 6 x 3' lengths of rebar steel rods
  • Enough PVC pipe to make 6 x 3' lengths (2 x 10' of pipe should do it)
  • Measuring tape
  • A coping saw, mitre saw, PVC pipe cutter or hacksaw with jig
  • A hammer or mallet

  • Measure and cut the PVC pipe to 3' lengths
  • Lay out the rebar where you would like your weaves to go. Most regulating bodies use 24" spacing (TDAA for 'teacup' dogs are using 21")
  • Hammer the rebar into the ground. You'll want to get somewhere between a half and a whole foot into the ground for stability. If your ground is too hard, apply some water before you start hammering
  • Slide the 3' PVC tubes over the rebar to create your weave poles!
  • To provide better visibility for your dog (and to make them look nicer) you can decorate them with coloured duct tape, or spray paint stripes onto them.
And there you have it. The construction should only take an hour or so and you're ready to go.
Have fun!