Canine Fitness Equipment: Caveletti Poles

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Caveletti poles are a staple for agility dog fitness and skills training.  Indeed, they are often the first piece of equipment purchased for home use by an aspiring agility handler.  Despite the perception that Cavelettis are “for agility’, they in fact are an extremely useful and versatile piece of canine fitness equipment that can provide benefits to dogs of all ages, sizes and fitness level.


Caveletti poles can be used to force the dog to either go over or under the poles, depending on the height that is set relative to the dog’s body size.


For the more traditional use case of “over the poles”, there are several fitness benefits to the dog including:

  • Improve active range of motion, awareness, and eye-limb coordination
  • Facilitate a more equal weight bearing across all four limbs
  • Facilitate proper walking patterns and stride length



A dog practicing moving “under the poles” exercises will receive slightly different benefits including:

  • Improve body awareness and control through space
  • Strong core muscles
  • Strong upper back muscles and pulling capability


When setting up the poles, it is recommended that they are set at a distant that is about equal to the distance between the dog’s withers and the ground.  (The withers is the ridge between the shoulder blades).  The poles should be set no higher than the dog’s knees (for most over drills).


You don’t want the dog to leap over the poles, rather have them walk or trot over them.  This forces them to concentrate on placement and pace.


The dog can be led over the poles in a forward motion or, as an alternative, they can perform a sideway step over drill.  For the sideway step over drill, have the dog step over from alternating sides being sure to equally balance the reps for each side.


When under the poles work, you want to set them at a height that provides 6-12 inches or so of clearance when the dog is in a lying prone position.  This will provide enough room for the dog to crawl under while still providing a challenge to them if they try to stand up too much.   The key with the under drills is to force the dog to crawl through the obstacle and preclude them from standing up while moving through.

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  1. I always wanted them … sadly my husband only offered me two beer cases and a broom stick :o( but I would like to have some agility equipment I can use for me and for the pup :o)
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog FURRY FURRYDAYMy Profile

  2. That is a pretty cool idea. I think we could do it with our cones and tracking flags.
    Emma recently posted…5 Reasons To Do Sports With Your DogMy Profile

  3. What a useful piece of equipment! I wonder how long it would take to teach a very dimwitted dog to ‘walk’ over them rather than pogo-stick his way over? 🙂

  4. I’ve been wanting a set since just after Callie had her first CCL surgery but sadly, I have basically the same problem as Easy’s mom.
    Callie, Shadow, and Ducky’s Mom recently posted…Friday FunMy Profile

  5. 3 bum swings! 3 more!
    Pawsome comprehensive post on Caveletti Poles.
    I would do well with equipment that would help increase focus, mobility & strength.
    I’m going to ask my huMom if we can get some.

    Nose nudges,
    CEO Olivia
    Olivia recently posted…Keeping Emotions In CheckMy Profile

  6. What a useful piece of equipment! it’s very important for dog owners to understand the benefits of dog exercising.

  7. We’ve tried a lot of equipment with Laika and for some reason she doesn’t seem to “get” these poles. She seems to lack a basic understanding of personal space and knocks these things over, basically she keeps her focus on us while going around them and plows right through them. I think it’s time to try again, maybe I’ll have better luck working on her situational awareness this time.
    Jen Gabbard recently posted…8 Ways You Can Help Shelter Animals Without AdoptingMy Profile

  8. I definitely want to add these to our Christmas list! I always thought things like that were to be jumped over, but since I don’t want Luke doing that, didn’t think they would work for us. Now I can see all the other great uses for them!
    Jan K recently posted…Last Day of StaycationMy Profile

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