Have you just welcomed a new furry friend to your household? Owning a pup makes you responsible for his health, training, and entertainment. To cover all three, you can arrange some health-boosting and fun activities like agility sports. Does your budget allow you to spend money on commercial dog agility equipment? If the answer is no, you must give a try to our simple ideas on how to construct dog agility equipment DIY.
If you’re hard-pressed for time, you can buy ready-to-use dog agility equipment in pet stores, but most of them are so expensive that they might damage your monthly budget. Cheap commercial agility equipment is available as well, but these apparatuses don’t come without the risk of breaking and causing injury to your dog.
Contrary to that, creating your own agility equipment not just saves money, but it also promises the same level of fun and entertainment that commercial products do. Moreover, you don’t have to settle for equipment made from cheap and brittle materials that could spell disaster for your dog instead of helping him train and become healthier.
In this article, we are going to share detailed info about the easiest and most affordable ways to create four different types of agility equipment for your dog at home. Furthermore, we will discuss the significance of using agility products for dogs, along with some useful tips for making the best out of them.
Why Your Dog Needs Some Agility Equipment
Before we discuss different types of agility equipment, let’s take a look at some basic benefits that agility training has to offer for your dog.
Reason #1: To Kill Boredom
Does your dog like to dig out the yard and bark at any strangers or birds passing by? There’s a reason why he’s doing that: boredom. He needs something to do to help kill boredom. Bringing some simple agility equipment into your house can keep him busy and entertained.
Reason #2: To Bond with You
Being a loving creature by nature, dogs always wish to spend some quality time with their masters. Getting involved in agility training session with your bestie is a good way to strengthen the bond between you two. You are not just training him—you are creating happy memories for him.
Reason #3: Health-Boosting Exercise
Exercise is imperative—not just for humans, but also for dogs. To give your dog a healthy lifestyle, you must indulge your dog in physical activities that will tire his body and mind out, so he can rest easy.
Those who own high energy dog breeds must arrange some constructive outlets for draining their dog’s energy. Using agility equipment serves this purpose well.
Reason #4: Positive Behavioral Changes
Dogs are born to work, not for curling up on the couch all day. If that’s what your little bugger is doing, he could end up developing serious behavioral problems. Simple walks or long running sessions are not enough—dogs need something more challenging and vigorous.
Agility equipment promises health-oriented tasks to keep your friend engaged physically and mentally. By training them, you would not have to see the evidence of a dog’s destructive behavior like chewed shoes and damaged furniture.
Also, when your friend zips around a new agility course successfully and you praise him for this, it motivates him to do even better in future.
Reason #5: It’s Good for the Owner Too
The advantages of dog agility equipment are not confined to the pet only. You too can get something positive out of this. First of all, navigating the course or obstacles alongside your dog would help in shaping up your waistline and overall physique.
Secondly, training your loveable snuggle bug helps you become a better pet owner. You will develop a better understanding and sense of communication with your furry baby.
Last but not least, you will learn a good deal about how to stay cool and patient when handling your dog. For handlers, agility training is all about staying calm and overcoming frustration.
4 Types of Dog Agility Equipment and How to DIY Them
There is a number of equipment that can be used in a dog’s agility training. You’ll want to choose an appropriate location for the training first. A padded surface or a grassy plot are the best places for a dog’s agility training. They come with lower risks of injury. Don’t forget to consider your dog’s size and energy level before placing the agility items.
Read on to find out about the most common agility pieces and the easiest ways to DIY them.
This is the simplest way to improve your dog’s agility. It doesn’t take a lot to figure out how dog tunnels work. A dog enters from one side of the tunnel and exits from the other.
Dog tunnels are usually made up of wires wrapped with plastic or some fabric around them. The passage can be formed in multiple shapes—straight, curved, or in an ‘S’ shape.
DIY Dog Tunnel Type #1: Unused Tables
The quickest and easiest way to make a DIY tunnel is by placing a row of tables in your yard. Small to medium-sized unused tables (choose one that matches your dog’s size) are perfect for this. Place them in a row next to each other and cover them with a blanket to make the interior dark. Isn’t it simple?
DIY Dog Tunnel Type #2: Children’s Tunnels
How about using a play tunnel that we can easily get from children’s toy shop? Children tent tunnels are not just affordable, but these can also be easily folded and stored away when not in use. You can use anchors to secure them to the ground. If you don’t want to buy a brand new one, check out some online auction sites to get a used tunnel.
Weaves are upright poles placed side by side at an even distance. The idea is for your dog to weave through a number of poles speedily. This kind of exercise is great for your dog’s muscles and joints. Sounds quite challenging!
DIY Weave Pole Type #1: Traffic Cones
Do you want a fuss-free way to create weave poles for your running companion? We have a unique idea. Surely, you’re familiar with those bright orange traffic cones. These cones can make the weave points both portable and easy to adjust. Readily available in hardware stores, just form an appropriately-spaced line with them, and there you go.
DIY Weave Pole Type #2: Bamboo Poles
Agility weaves can also be created using bamboo poles or sticks. All you need is to pound them into the ground, and the weaves are ready. It’s quite inexpensive. Just contact your nearby hardware store or a garden center to buy them.
DIY Weave Pole Type #3: PVC Pipes and Plow Stakes
PVC pipes can also be used to make sturdy weave poles in your yard. Get 3 to 6 pieces of PVC pipes with a length of 40 inches each (just get them cut in the required length).
The number of PVC pipes should be increased gradually. Beginners should start with three poles. Increase it to six once your dog has mastered running between the first three weaves.
Plow stakes are a common item that we usually have at home. If you don’t have them, its time to buy some (in equal proportions to the PVC pipes). Garden stakes can also be used as an alternative.
Here’s how you make an exciting course for your dog with these tools:
Pound plow stakes/garden stakes into the ground at a distance of 24 inches each.
Cover each PVC pipe with its cap and slide them over the plow stakes. Your weaves are ready.
A dog’s agility course is never complete without a good old obstacle run. You can riddle the course with obstacles that will require him to do single, double, and triple jumps. Your doggy is supposed to jump over these obstacles without displacing the bar. Besides being affordably priced, these are portable and easy to store.
Whenever you initiate this training, start it from the ground level (the bar should be placed on the ground). Guide your dog so he gets the idea that he’s supposed to jump over the bar. Once he comprehends, uplift the bar to the required height.
DIY Obstacle Course Type #1: Flower Pots
Starting from the easiest, take two flower pots of identical heights. Use a stick or a broomstick as the jumping bar. Place it between the flower pots and make sure the stick is suspended properly. This simple obstacle would work best for small-sized dogs.
DIY Obstacle Course Type #2: Chairs
Follow the same steps detailed in the first DIY obstacle course type, but this time, replace the flower pots with two chairs. Chairs can be used to make higher jumping bars. You should keep on adding height to the obstacles as your dog masters the previous levels.
DIY Obstacle Course Type #3: Used Tires
Another unique idea is to use the used tires of a car and a wooden plank. Pile up the tires on two different sides and place the wooden plank on top. The obstacle is ready. If you want to increase the height, keep on adding tires on both sides.
DIY Obstacle Course Type #4: Soccer Cones
Using plastic soccer disc cones is yet another handy idea. Buy the ones with holes in them, or else you would have to make the holes.
Place two cones (cone A and cone B) side by side. Connect A to B by inserting a long PVC pipe (or a simple stick) into Cone A’s hole—all the way to cone B. Your jump bar is ready.
If you want more than a single jumping bar, stack up more soccer cones and repeat the same steps using PVC pipes or sticks.
Unlike the jumps we prepare for our dogs on an obstacle course, a tire jump is a bit more complicated for your dog. Your furry sidekick is supposed to jump through a circle without touching or hitting it. Be sure that the inside diameter of the tire is not too small—your dog should be able to pass through it smoothly.
DIY Tire Jump Type #1: Standing Tire Jump
Arrange for two posts to be fixed in your yard. If you don’t have any, get two heavy chairs, then place them at some distance. Take a hula hoop or a tire and tie it sideways between the chairs or the posts. If you have a hula hoop you can use, simply duct tape it to the two chairs.
DIY Tire Jump Type #2: Hanging Tire Jump
The first thing you need is a frame to hang the tire from. PVC pipes are the best in this regard, or you can simply hang it from a tree branch. You need two PVC pipes for the top and the bottom, then two larger pieces of PVC tubes for both sides (left and right).
Connect all sides and get them in a rectangular form.
To give it a sturdy base, you need two large PVC tubes
Fix the rectangular frame to the base with the help of screws or T joints, whichever you find easier.
For strapping the tire to the frame, pick out any of these—elastic cord, chain, fishing line, or a parachute cord.
Use one of these items to attach the tire/tube to all four corners of the frame. A simple tire jump for your dog is ready.
How to Start the Agility Training
Now that you’ve got the necessary agility equipment all set up, all that’s left is to teach your dog how to use it. The easiest way to make your bestie pass through an obstacle is to do it yourself first, but not without some treats in your hand.
If it is about an agility contest, besides homeschooling your canine with DIY agility items, you must train him to understand different commands like up, down, slow, fast, left, right, and stop.
Australian Shepherd and the Border Collie are the two best agility performers. But that does not restrict other breeds from getting benefits from these agility items. Just be patient and kind, and don’t forget to give your dog some treats or toys after the completion of a task.
Summing up, we have narrowed down the quickest, easiest, and most cost-effective agility courses for you. We have also made sure to explain the DIY instructions for every type of agility equipment in the most comprehensible manner. We hope that you now have a good idea of the kind of agility equipment you want to build at home as well as how to do it.
Have you ever tried making homemade agility equipment for your obedient friend? What was it? We would love to hear about your unique DIY idea. How did you find our article? Which DIY method do you like the most? Share your views with us. If your dog is tired and overheated after getting a good exercise, consider making him some delicious homemade ice cream to cool down. Check out this article.