You’ve likely seen dogs darting through agility courses in dog shows. Perfectly navigating every obstacle as they go! Show dogs often seem as well trained as police dogs. Dog agility isn’t just for pets who want to compete. It can also give your dog a great physical and mental workout! A good agility course can help you and your dog bond while letting them have a bit of fun.
Whether you’re getting your dog started for a career in dog shows or just trying to keep them fit, a dog agility course can be a great choice for you. You don’t have to purchase an adventure playground’s worth of equipment to get started though. There are some homemade alternatives that will suffice for keeping a dog fit.
Getting started with dog agility equipment can be daunting. You need to arrange an entire course and try to get your dog to learn to move around it. If you think your dog will benefit from an agility course, you can start small at first to make it easier.
When you’re ready to get started with dog agility, you need to find some equipment. There is one big choice to make, whether you should purchase a course or try to build your own.
Regulation equipment is going to cost quite a bit more but it is easier than making your own. If you’re really serious and committed to dog agility, then regulation pieces might be a good fit for you.
If you’re just getting started or testing the waters, then homemade is the way to go. If you're only doing dog agility to keep your dog's body and mind fit, then a homemade course should provide what you need.
Dog agility equipment is hardly an essential pet supply, so you need to consider the cost. A full regulation agility course is going to cost quite a bit. Homemade versions require materials and time too, but mainly PVC tubes and connectors.
If you’re making your own dog agility course, then you need to keep your dogs safety in mind. Don’t use anything with your dog that could get them hurt. You don’t want to turn a fun exercise into a trip to the vets.
The jump is a bar or obstacle that your dog has to jump over, quite simple really. Really well-trained agility dogs can manage this like an Olympic hurdler, however, your dog will enjoy this one a lot. It is a good outlet for excess energy! The jump is a bar set at a certain height depending on your dog’s size.
The Tunnel is a deceptively simple dog agility piece. It is a fabric tunnel for your dog to run through. It encourages them to follow your directions, even if they can’t see out of the tunnel. It needs to be safely attached to the ground to prevent your dog from knocking it over while running and potentially getting tangled up.
Weave Poles are poles that stand out of the ground that your dog must weave in and out of. Doing this effectively can be tricky for a dog, it tests their discipline, speed, brainpower, and coordination. Most clumsy dogs don't stand much of a chance in this section! This is a difficult one to train your dog with, but it can be done. Weave Poles are just large poles arranged in a pattern.
The Teeter-Totter is a little like a see-saw, it tests your dog's coordination and impulse control. Your dog is going to be raised off the ground on a relatively unstable surface, so you need to keep safety in mind here. If your dog takes a nasty tumble off this bit of dog agility equipment, they may lack the confidence to attempt it again. Essentially this is a firmly secured balanced bar.
A chute is a bit of a dog agility course that closely resembles the tunnel. It is sometimes attached to tunnels; the main difference is that the fabric is collapsed so your dog can't see where they're going. In a Chute, you need a strong fabric that your dog can’t rip up. It should also be able to be attached to a tunnel as an entry.
All this equipment can be a bit intimidating, but they can easily be made at home even by beginners. This is how to make each piece in a way that even those clueless about DIY can manage:
Making your own dog agility course doesn’t take too much work, but you may have to stock up on PVC pipes! This is a great alternative to purchasing a dog agility kit. As you train your dog to use each piece, they should become more responsive to your commands. It is also a great way to burn off some energy, fat, and to get them thinking! If your dog becomes particularly good at the agility course, you can replace parts of it with more official equipment.
Jordan is an experienced author who enjoys writing about all things dogs. He loves all animals and when he is not working he spends his time curled up with his two dogs playing video games and maybe enjoying a craft beer.