I’ve been doing a lot of reading on various boards and agility groups about striping poles (on weaves and jump bars) vs. not striping them, and what the disadvantages are to each. One of the concerns is that sometimes tape can peel (on weave poles) and cut a dog’s eye if the edge is sharp. Or it might catch and pull your dog’s hair. So while tape has been used for decades, and can be occasionally checked for safety, another option out there is painting poles. A lot of work, but if you want to do it….
Another issue, however, is simply whether to stripe or not! This may come as a surprise to many involved in agility competing, but you may encounter poles that are not striped. Or they may be striped up too high, out of your dog’s line of sight. Will it throw your dog off? It’s up for debate! One reader said that his dog ran by the weaves 3 times before finally ‘finding’ them, because at home he only practices with striped poles. Others disagree, saying the dog’s don’t pay any attention to the stripes, and the dog was probably missing them for other reasons.
I did some research to see what the different rules were considering striping. I found inconsistencies. Here’s what I found (correct me if I’m wrong)…
Weave Poles: AKC required (10″ and 20″ from the ground). CPE recommended. USDAA & NADAC no mention.
Jump Bars: AKC no mention. CPE required. NADAC no mention.
My suggestion for this dilemna?…Use both! Stripe your weave poles sort of low and practice them this way. Then sometimes turn them upside down so that there is no striping at your dog’s eye level. For your jumps, stripe one bar but leave the other unstriped. Alternate them from time to time. Then your dog will be prepared for either!
In this training video on YouTube, notice they have two sets. One is striped, one is not.
I’m interested in any opinions out there!