Agility is an efficient and popular sport for dogs. If you want your dog to be able to compete in an agility competition, weave poles are an essential part of the training. These poles are set up in a line and dogs have to pass through them in a specific pattern. It's a lot like playing jump rope or hopscotch with your dog!
During the early stages of training, all you have to do is give your dog a lot of positive reinforcement – encourage them with “good boys” and “nice jobs” and feed them plenty of treats as they learn how to weave between the poles. This training will improve their confidence and give them the much-needed boost to master every step. These poles are perfect for dogs of all ages, sizes, and breed types. That said, we've researched and carefully picked some of the top-rated weave poles of 2023 that'll improve your dog's physical and mental abilities.
Although purchasing a set of weave poles is straightforward, you should do your homework to find the finest pole set for your dog’s training. If you purchase the wrong type of weave poles, your pooch’s training might be undermined by a flimsy pair of poles that will keep falling over. Such poles will be useless for you and your pooch. To avoid this, we recommend doing some research and purchasing a reliable set of weave poles in the first place. To help, we’ve answered some common questions that dog parents have when getting ready to purchase their first set of weave poles. Let’s take a look!
What to Look for in Weave Poles
Outdoor vs. indoor training
Although most people prefer doing agility training outdoors, you might need an indoor setup if you live in a cold climate where your backyard is often covered with snow. Outdoor pole sets often have spikes to place the poles in the ground for better stability. What’s more, the frame should be made of durable material to withstand weather conditions like wind and rain. An indoor weave pole set should come with a platform where you can place the poles.
Ideally, you want the poles to stand up straight without wobbling or falling on top of your furry friend. The pole size and length depends on the size of your dog. If you own a large dog, you’ll need taller poles to ensure that your canine will not be able to knock them over during the training. Medium or small dogs can use smaller-sized poles.
Some dog parents prefer to take their pooches to the nearby park for training. Also, those who don’t have enough space in their yard might also find it difficult to train their dogs in the house. If you intend to take your dog elsewhere to train, buy a weave pole set that is compact and easy to carry. For the most portability, choose a set that comes with a high-quality carrying case that can withstand the pressure and weight of the poles while traveling.
Some weave pole sets come with other training accessories to give you the ultimate training experience. Such sets usually cost more, but the price you pay justifies the versatility and range of accessories that you get. We recommend purchasing the set that comes with at least a ring jump and an agility tunnel.
Types of Weave Poles
PVC, plastic, and aluminum are the most common materials used to make weave poles. Although PVC and plastic are the least expensive materials, they are not used in professional contests. However, these materials can suffice for at-home training. Below, we break down the difference between plastic and aluminum weave poles.
PVC and plastic weave poles
PVC and plastic aren’t as strong or heavy as aluminum, which is their primary drawback. As a result, they’re not only lighter to carry, but they’re also more prone to being knocked over or damaged by your dog during training. Because these poles are usually quite affordable, it’s not too expensive to replace them.
Aluminum weave poles
High-end aluminum poles tend to be more lightweight, although collapsibility is less common than it is with PVC poles. Their rigidity means that they can stand up straight even if they are tall, and a clumsy dog won’t be able to knock them down.
For those who plan to compete in agility, aluminum poles are a requirement. If you’re just starting off, there’s no use in investing a lot of money in these types of poles. Keep in mind that even the most elite dog trainers still use inexpensive materials for training.
How to Train Your Dog Indoors
It will be tough to teach your dog to use weave poles inside unless you have a little dog. Agility weave poles have a sharp pointed end on one side in order to hold them upright in a large area. Your living room floor isn’t likely to be the best place to drive in one of these spikes.
You can still train your dog to weave poles indoors if you absolutely have to. To avoid damaging your floor, some poles come with suction cups, which grip marble, tile, or other hard surfaces. Keep in mind that these suctions won’t work on the carpet.
Another approach is to come up with your own solution. If you opt to customize your own training equipment, you won’t need to purchase weave poles because you can make them out of supplies from your local hardware store.
What Is the Recommended Age for Agility Training?
Weave poles should only be used in competitive situations when a dog is 15 months old or more. Because of the pressure on their growing joints caused by the constant bending and flexing of their spines, their body should be able to endure the pressure when navigating the poles. Most recommend waiting to teach your dog agility until they’re physically mature. Because weave poles are tough for dogs to learn, you should expose them to them as early as possible to give them a kickstart.
As a general rule, you shouldn’t set up weave poles in a straight line while working with pups or elderly dogs. The best way to avoid stressing their backs is to place the weave poles in an offset position.
The Lord Anson weave poles are perfect if you want to train your dog and get them trial-ready in your backyard. These poles are adjustable, durable, and versatile enough for any level of agility training. Manufactured from a thick-gauge, high-quality plastic, these weave poles are extremely sturdy. Unlike other flimsy poles, they will not splinter or break with regular use.
What’s more, the heavy-duty metal base and sharp tips make this set ideal for field use or use at a rigorous training facility. These poles are extremely versatile and can be used for different training exercises like zig-zag, side by side, and jumping over. The brand also offers the upgrade to 12 poles for those who want to add more versatility. On top of that, these poles come with a heavy-duty bag for easy portability, making these our best overall winner.
The PawHut weave poles are another exceptional product for dog agility training. These are made of rugged plastic that is durable enough to last for years of daily wear and tear. These agility poles can be used for different exercises, including high jump, tunnel, swerve around poles, and jumping rings. You can also customize the distance of the poles and the difficulty of the exercise based on your pet’s experience level.
What’s more, you can set them up easily anywhere, either on grass or a plain surface in your backyard to have fun outdoorsy activities with your pet. Plus, the poles can be filled with water to enhance their stability. They have a space-saving design, so you won’t have to worry about storing them after training. Most importantly, this set comes with a carrying bag to carry the poles conveniently and store them when not in use.
If you want to nurture your relationship with your furry friend through fun activities, then the CHEERING PET weave poles are the one for you. This equipment is specially manufactured with premium quality material to sustain multiple uses. Plus, it has a variety of exercise options to keep your pet in good shape while also having a fun day.
With one standard tunnel and one blind tunnel, you can use this set for your dog’s physical and mental training. The poles are flexible enough to easily set up and disassemble – don’t worry, you don’t have to be a professional carpenter or welder to get this agility set up and running! Best of all, these weave poles come with three different bags, so you can easily pop all the pieces in and carry them to the car or into the house after training.
The Better Sporting Dogs agility set comes with everything you need to get started. The obstacles are made from sturdy, lightweight PVC plastic pipes, so they’re easy to transport and assemble. The poles have a firm base, which keeps them stable and prevents them from falling over during a training session. Designed for both beginners and experts alike, these weave poles can help your dog build confidence, increase their physical strength and stamina, and improve their overall health and happiness.
The included jump bar can be adjusted from 2 to 34 inches, allowing you to train your dog using different difficulty levels as they grow and become more skilled. The hoop, tunnel, and weave poles can all be used indoors or outdoors, so the weather won’t hinder your training sessions. With this set, your dog will be ready to challenge their first agility course in no time!
Sturdy, fixed base for enhanced stability
Includes sandbags for extra safety
Easy to assemble
Adjustable height for different skill levels
Not suitable for unstable surfaces
People Also Asked
Q: How many weave poles should I purchase?
A: Most sets have either six or twelve poles. Beginners should stick to six while more experienced dogs can easily move through twelve poles without losing much energy. If you’re only teaching the fundamentals, you may get away with two or three poles in the beginning. Because most dogs rapidly outgrow such a modest number, you should plan to update your set quickly.
Q: Do I need to be aware of any standard measurements?
A: It’s recommended that the height of the weave poles be between 36 and 48 inches and the diameter should be 1 inch. The rules for weave pole competitions vary from one governing body to the next, so be aware of that if you’re training your dog for a competition. Before entering a contest, be sure to review the guidelines.
Q: What is the ideal distance between the poles?
A: While the most common requirement is a distance of 24 inches, most events call for a distance of 19 to 24 inches. In most cases, the poles of fixed-position sets will fall inside this range. Keep in mind that putting the poles closer than 19 inches will make the weaving harder for your dog, while placing them farther than 24 inches will make the weaving much easier for your pooch.
Jarett and his vapor wake dog, Toxi, help keep the students and public safe on the University of Notre Dame’s campus. Jarett knows what equipment, food and toys to keep Toxi safe, productive and still able to have fun.