Channel Weaves – closing the gap

People will often mention they have a problem being able to close channel weaves all the way down, and wonder what they can do to help their dog learn to weave properly.

  1. use wire guides or chicken wire. Attach the wire guides OR get 24″ tall chicken wire. Wired the cages to the poles. Push the poles completely together and start sending your dog through. When the dog misses a pole, the dog hits the wire correcting him/her self. Can still take time to learn the muscle memory but reduces handler need to babysit and teaches the dog to think it through.
  2. Backchain using a lure. Close up the last one or two weaves and then use the lure to build up speed through. Then slowly backchain the rest.
  3. Close one or two poles in the middle leaving the rest open. Close the rest slowly as the dog learns.

As to when to start training the weave poles….don’t start until the pup is grown up some. Usually at least one year old, sometimes older depending on the size of dog. Wait til the growth plates close (most dogs that is by 1.5 years old).

Make Your Own Metal Weave Poles

First off…here’s a PVC weave pole base. 🙂

Jan says:

I have made a metal base weave pole using 2 1/4″ aluminum flat bar. You can drill thru this with a regular drill. Right now I have just set it up with my stick in the ground weave poles going into the ground. It gives the poles some extra stability. If I find that is not stable enough I will put some 3 or 4 inch bolts thru the flat bar and find some
nuts that are close to the inside diameter of the pvc posts and fasten the bolts with them. Tighten one nut all the way to the flat bar and then put 2 or 3 more nuts along the bolts to help stabilize the poles when they are slipped over the bolts.

Jay says:

Try this, look in the phone book for your local steel company. Go there and buy 3, 8ft lengths of 1 1/2″ to 2″ STRAP iron. Stop at your local hardware store and pick up a cheap hacksaw, 5, 10 ft sticks of 1″ pvc. You will also want to get 15 bolts, 27nuts, and 12 lock washers. The nuts should just barely fit inside the 1″ pvc. You will also need a drill and drill bit to fit with the bolts. Take this all home and do the following:

1. Cut the Strap Iron into 6 ft pieces.
2. Cut all of the PVC into 4 ft pieces.
3. Use the drill and bit to drill holes 3/4″ from the ends of the 6ft Strap Iron
4. Drill the same holes in the ends of the left over 2 ft pieces of Strap Iron
5. Lay the 3, 8 ft pieces end to end tight together in a straight line.
6. Lay 2 of the 2 ft pieces centered UNDER the seams, and drill corresponding holes.
7. Measure and mark 12 spots, along the center of the 8 ft pieces for the weave poles.
These should be 20 to 24″ apart.
8. Insert a bolt into each of these 12 holes, and attach a lock washer and nut to each.
These bolts should be at least 2 inches long.
9. Use either Gorilla Glue, Epoxy, or similar to glue a nut into 1 end of each PVC pole.
10. Once glue is dry you can thread the individual poles onto the nuts.
11. With the cross braces still under the seams, put bolts through holes going down, and
secure with nuts and lock washers.
You should now have a complete, 3 section set of weave poles. Then can be used alone with 4 poles for practicing entrances, or together for the hole run. These can also be used in competition in all venues, since all of the cross braces have holes at the ends as well so they can be anchored down. Paint as desired, and don’t forget to alternate the tape stripes on the poles, =-=-=-=-=-= so the dogs have the best view.

Beverly made some of wood:

I used 1×3 10ft long pieces of wood.

Mark the wood every 20″ for the pole placement. This will make (3) 4-pole sections, with some wood left over. The middle section must have 10″ left on each end to match with the end sections when all sections are put together to make a set of 12. Extra wood cut off make “feet” or braces.

12 metal pipe flanges, 1/2′ to 3/4″ recepticle
screws just long enough to go through the flanges almost through the wood
12 pvc pieces to screw into the flanges to hold the poles
enough pvc to make 12 poles
metal pieces to attach the feet to the bases
tent stakes to hold feet to the ground

I just picked the flanges and walked over to the pvc area in Home Depot and played with the pvc fittings until they all screwed in together.

small saw or jigsaw
power screwdriver/drill

I guess total cost was about $30-$40 and these are nice and heavy.

For ideas on how to make one from rebar check out this link.

And this from another member of the agility-equipment forum, this one might be done using aluminum instead since it is lighter, though it bends easier and can be more expensive.:

Metal weave pole bases with no welding!

you can make them out of 2 1/2″ wide 3/16″ thick steel and 3/4″ round steel bar. Simply cut the metal strap into the right length for your weave pole spacing (a 6 pole set on 20″ spacing would be 101″ long) and then cut some legs from the same material about 12-14″ long. Cut the 3/4′ steel rod into 3″ long pieces. Then drill 3/8″ holes in the long strap every 20″ and into the legs at just one end so that the legs will only stick out to one side. Then drill holes into one end of the 3/4″ bar pieces about 1 1/2 to 2″ deep using a 11/32″ drill bit. Then tap the holes (Tap= make threads in the hole) You can buy a 3/8′” tap at your local hardware shop, along with the right size drill bit for the tap and the 3/8″drill bit.
To cut the metal you could use a hacksaw..or you can buy a 4″ angle grinder for about $15-$25 dollars and a metal cutting blade for $2, and makes this much much faster.
Once you have cut and drilled and taped all you do is take a 3/8″x1 1/4″ button head screw and pass it through the bottom of the long strap, then through a leg and then screw it into the 3/4″x3″ rod piece. Then simply bend the legs down slightlyto eliminate any possible wobble. If you are doing this on grass you might not even need to bother with bending the legs.

cost of metal $25
cost of bolts $1-$2
cost of tap $3-$5
cost of drill bits $2
cost of drill $15-$25
cost of Angle grinder $15-$25
cost of hacksaw $3-$8 (if you don’t use angle grinder)

Alot of the above can be borrowed or you might already own them. You can use a crescent wrench to turn the tap. Buy the metal from a metal suplier near you Look in phone book under metal suppliers. The only other thing you would need would be the poles themselves. use 3/4″ schedule 40 PVC and cut to size and slide onto the 3/4″ rods that stick up.

Teaching the Weaves

Arguably one of the toughest obstacles to teach a good, independent and fast performance.

Things to keep in mind:

  • you want your dog focusing on the weaves and making decisions, not focusing on you.
  • you want your dog to get the correct entry regardless of where you are standing
  • you want your dog to do them as quickly as possibly without missing any poles

Methods that are used to teach weaves:

  1. Luring
  2. 2 by 2
  3. channel weaves
  4. Weave-a-matics
  5. Shaping using clicker training

Each method will have it’s pros and cons.

  • Luring… Teaches good footing quickly, but how does one fade the lure and hand-signals?
  • 2 by 2 … fastest way to teach correct entries, may take time to add new poles
  • channels – dogs learn speed then need to learn how to maintain speed while weaving,
  • Weave-a-matics — teaches good footing early on, speed can come easily, but closing the weaves all the way can take time
  • clicker training — takes time and patience.  Can go quickly if you have a clicker savvy dog.

There may be other methods to training, but these are the ones that I know.