What is pole weaving?
Pole weaving is when a pet is led, or "weaved", through upright poles at a controlled pace.
Why are pole weaving exercises prescribed?
Pole weaving encourages side bending of the neck and body to help with balance, coordination and muscle strengthening of the front and rear legs.
Where can I obtain these poles?
Commercial poles are available and can be purchased at local sporting goods stores, from dog agility retailers, or from online retailers. Poles can also be made with PVC piping or wooden stakes. Both are available at local home repair stores. Plastic cones also provide an excellent option and can be purchased from sporting good stores or online retailers.
How do I start?
First, check with your veterinarian on when and at what level you should start your pet with this exercise depending on their health status and stage of OA. For this exercise, series of vertical poles or cones should be placed in a straight line. A good guideline for distance to reach sufficient levels of side bending is that the distance between poles should be slightly less than the body length of the dog. You should also guide the pet through the poles so the head, neck, and body bend around each pole or cone.
What are the safety considerations?
Stop treatment immediately if your pet shows signs of severe discomfort, such as growling, snapping, or yelping.
Millis DL, Levine D, Taylor RA. Canine Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy. St Louis. 2004.
Saunders. pp 258-259.
Bockstahler B, Levine D, Millis D. Essential Facts of Physiotherapy in Dogs and Cats:
Rehabilitation and Pain Management. Babenhausen, Germany. 2004. BE VetVerlag.