Make and train a Weave

I've spent hours making different weaves with varying degrees of success. Jamie was quite happy using a makeshift affair that I'd put together with metal strapping and Sasha managed quite well with a channel weave made from poles taken out of a windbreak.  I did make a v-weave from plastic pipe and it worked quite well until Sasha started jumping through it.

 DIY V weave made from plastic pipe

My home made v weave made from plastic pipe.  It wouldn't meet current regulations as you are supposed to have a support bar at the base of each pole.  You could easily do that with a few more T pieces. This was made using 22mm pvc pipe and T pieces. 

You can buy windbreak poles but they're quite expensive.  If you want to hammer poles into the ground a better idea is to buy some metal fencing pins and put pvc pipe  over them.  These make quite a sturdy weave.  You could ask if your training club if they could lend you some or you could buy the pins from a local agricultural merchant or from ebay.  I made a weave spacer using some orange tape and large curtain rings. 

I did buy a set of Jesse Jump stick in the ground weaves.  These weren't sturdy enough for a boisterous collie  so I bought a set of much sturdier stick in the ground weave poles with webbing spacers. They worked to a certain extent but they kept getting knocked sideways.  If your ground is really firm they work better and you can make them into a channel weave if you want to.

 Jesse jump weave poles

Jesse stick in the ground weaves
These worked but they weren't sturdy enough

Jump4joy weave pole and Jesse jump pole

A Jesse weave pole and a Jump4joy weave pole

DIY channel weave

My channel weave made from windbreak poles
This worked quite well

Finally I bought a good heavy metal weave base and made the weave poles myself and this is what I now use for training. 

Making Weave Poles       

DIY weave poles

These are my DIY weave poles

To make weave poles you just need to get some plastic pipe that will fit your weave base and cut it to the right length for weave poles.  Buy some sticky back plastic from somewhere like The Range  and cut it so that you can put a different coloured strip round the top of the weave pole.  To finish off you can buy the end caps from ebay and these will give you a professional looking set of weave poles.

The current regulations (2019) say

'Weaving Poles—The minimum number of poles should be five and the maximum number 12. They should be in a continuous line, as straight as possible and should be 600mm apart (between the poles). The poles must be of rigid construction and with a minimum height of 762mm and a diameter between 32mm and 38mm. The base must have support bars at the bottom of each pole and they must be positioned away from the side a dog would normally negotiate each pole.'


End caps for weave poles Sticky back plastic for weave poles

End Caps will finish the job nicely

Sticky back plastic can be wrapped around the
pole to make a coloured top


How are you training the weave?

There are several different ways of training the weave and one of the most popular is the 2 x 2 method.  For this you can use stick in the ground poles and you can use them in any configuration you want. You can buy 2 x 2 bases but they aren't cheap.

Channel weaves are also a popular method of training and again you can use the stick in the ground poles  or windbreak poles to make the channel.

Sasha learned to weave using the channel method and this suited her completely.  She became a really reliable weaver and very rarely missed a pole.

I trained Jilly by using stick in the ground poles set at an angle so that they formed a v-weave.  The problem with this was that when I wanted to use the poles upright Jilly kept knocking them sideways so that they went into a v shape again and this caused her to start missing poles at training classes. We eventually went on to the channel weave but unlike Sasha Jilly didn't become a reliable weaver until I changed the way I was training her.  I bought an e book from Clean Run called Weaves that wow and it really helped a lot.  The method involved using a lot of entry and exit set ups with just four weave poles. 

Wow those weaves training

Here we are doing one of the entry exercises from Weaves that Wow

Dear old Jamie learned by the old fashioned method of leading him through the poles until the penny dropped.  A proper metal weave base is really the best for this method but the poles over the fencing pins will do.  I know quite a few people who still train this method. All three of my dogs learned to do a reliable weave entry and exit. The one key thing with any weave training is to reward as soon as the dog does a successful weave.  It doesn't matter if you're in the middle of a sequence set by your trainer and everyone's watching.  Your dog did a great weave so reward it straight away and then finish the sequence.  I rewarded in the ring as well just to reinforce a great weave.  I couldn't use treats or a toy but a really big verbal praise worked well.  Okay, Jilly thought she'd finished the course and left the ring but hey, she did a great weave and she did it again on the next course and the next one. 

Please don't use bamboo canes with plastic pipe over them.  Bamboo snaps very easily and it can injure the dog. 

Don't be tempted to start training until your dog is old enough.  Weaving is very hard on the spine and repeatedly asking a puppy to go through weave poles may cause problems later in life.  14 or 15 months is about the right age although I think I'd be tempted to leave a bigger breed such as a golden retriever for a bit longer.

With little puppies it's not a good idea to teach them to run through channel weaves all the time.  It won't hurt them physically if they're just doing the odd straight run but you need to move the poles inwards as soon as possible. You won't be able to do this until the puppy is old enough to start weaving so running through a straight channel all the time may set the dog back.

So there's some different ways to make or buy a weave and some different ways to make and train the weave.  All dogs are different and I wouldn't say any one method of training is better than the other.  I do think it really helps to train entries and exits using just four poles and it's not so hard on the dog. 

grade 6 and 7 weave 

This weave configuration was set up in grade 6 and 7 qualifier
Not surprisingly several of the dogs struggled.  Jilly did it first time but at grade 3 she isn't as fast as the 6 and 7's

Just a note.  My metal weave base is made up of four lengths of the base with three poles in each. The club doesn't have a four pole weave base either.  To set up four poles I use one part of the weave base and a sturdy stick in the ground pole for the fourth one.

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