Weave poles are great fun for your dog (as Tess demonstrates), but they do take a bit of training. These adjustable poles make that training easy–start with them open, allowing your dog to run down the center “channel,” and slowly narrow that over time until your dog is weaving through the poles. We are going to make a set of six poles; this will take about three to four hours and will cost about $28 for materials.
It pays to be accurate when cutting and gluing, ensuring each pipe is seated fully in its connector, and that perpendicular joints are as true as you can make them.
You will need a PVC pipe cutter, a sharpie, a measuring tape and a short length of 4 x 4 or another solid block with a square edge for aligning perpendicular joints.
Below are the pre-cut pieces and connectors (all for 1″ pipe), ready to be assembled. The straight pieces of pipe are about 29 feet in total length, which means you’ll need three 10-foot pieces of pipe to construct one set of six weave poles.
1 “T” slip connectors (10)
2 slip end caps (12)
3 90-degree slip connectors (14)
4 1-¾” pipe stubs (6)
5 4″ pipe sections (18)
6 30″ pipe poles (6)
7 18″ pipe dividers (5)
Note, this project is a good one to have a few spare connectors and lengths of 4″ pipe at the ready; I wasn’t satisfied with a couple of my sub-assemblies and opted for a do-over!
Please see the tips page for general hints on cutting and assembling PVC pipe. Look for the red glue symbols in the photos to show the freshly glued joints in each step.
In the photos below, there are a few steps where I illustrate one of a particular sub-assembly, while you will actually need to build several. I will note these instances in the text.
Let’s start with the base.
Start by gluing six end caps 2 to six sections 5.
Next, glue six “T” connectors 1 to the six sub-assemblies from the previous step.
Glue six more sections 5 to the other side of the “T” from the previous step. It is important that these pieces are all firmly seated in the connector.
Glue the six stubs 4 into the “T” connectors in the sub-assembly from the previous step.
This is how we’re going to ensure that the next connector goes on perpendicular to the sub-assembly. After gluing the “T” on in roughly the right orientation, we are going to quickly place the assembly on our work surface and press firmly against the two “T” connectors, so that the new connector is flat on the board and the “T” in the center is firmly against the scrap of 4 x 4.
Orient the scrap (or whatever you’re using) to make the job go smoothly. If your pipe is a very tight fit in the connector, be ready to press firmly to get both “T” connectors flat against the work surface and scrap. It is important that the pipe is fully seated in the new “T”, as well.
You will be making four of the above, using the remaining “T” connectors 1. In addition, you will make two more in the same fashion, using 90-degree connectors 3 in place of the “T” connectors (see photo below).
Here are all of the sub-assemblies we made in the previous step. Note the orientation of the 90-degree connectors on the two sub-assemblies–they must be orientated as shown.
Now the fun part! Using the five dividers 7, glue the subassemblies you’ve accumulated into one long base. Start with one of the 90-degree assemblies and work down as shown above. It is important that each new sub-assembly added is coplanar with the previous ones. This is easy with the first two or three, but becomes more awkward towards the end of the process–the base will be about nine feet long when you’re done, so be sure you have enough flat workspace to keep everything aligned.
I’ve shown two glue joints above, but you will want to glue them one at a time.
This is what you’ll have when you’re done. Note, I did not glue this up on the ground–it was easier to photograph there.
Our base is done, let’s move on to the poles.
For each pole, take two 90-degree connectors 3 and glue them to a section 5 as shown. It is important that the section is fully seated and that the two connectors are coplanar. Glue the joints one at a time.
Make six of these assemblies, as shown above.
Glue six end caps 2 to the poles 6.
Finally, glue the poles into the pole base assemblies as shown. You’re done!
Place the base on the lawn where you will be using it, and slip the poles on. It’s best to wiggle the poles a bit while slipping them on, and hold them by their bases while doing so.
Here the poles are set to their fully open position…
…and here the poles are fully closed.
Note: For settings between fully open and fully closed, always rotate the poles in the same direction to maintain their spacing.
Kipp concentrates as he makes his way through nearly-closed poles.
Instead of the 90-degree connectors at the two ends, you can use “T” connectors and leave their ends open. This would allow you to use a spare 18″ pipe section to temporarily join two sets of poles together to make one larger set.
Six poles is about the longest section that can be easily moved around. If you want, say, eight poles, I would recommend making two four-pole assemblies.
The spacing between poles here is 20″, which is a standard measurement. You can change any of the measurements, but I’d be careful with varying this spacing.