There's a lot you can do to get your dog ready
for agility, such as making sure they have a great recall, but to
really practice you're going to have to get some dog agility equipment.
Build Or Buy?
The fastest way to get started with your training is to buy all
your dog agility equipment. But you'd better have pretty deep pockets if you
want to get it all at once. For example, an A-Frame will run you
$600 - $1000, a dog walk will be $800 - $1300, jumps are $50 each,
tunnels are $200 - $350, and so on.
Eeek! Unless you have a sugar daddy (or sugar momma) somewhere
who will pick up the tab, buying all your equipment isn't usually
an option for most people. If you've been saving your spare change
for a few years (decades?) and can swing it, GO FOR IT! But for
most of us, that's not an option. *sigh*
However, you don't have to wait until your rich
old uncle kicks the bucket and leaves you his wealth before you
can get started with your agility training. Most people have more
time than money so they end up building most (or all) of their dog agility equipment.
Some of it's very easy, requiring only some PVC pipe, a saw, and
some pipe glue. Other pieces will require more tools, but most "garage
shops" will have all the tools needed to make just about everything.
And if you have a spouse or friend who knows their way around a
table saw and drill, you're all set. :)
Here at AgilityTrial.com we get requests every single day about
how to build dog agility equipment -- so here's what we're going
to do. Starting in the next month or so we'll be producing a line
of "Weekend Workshop Dog Agility Equipment Plans" for the do-it-yourselfer.
Some of the plans will be free because we're just nice folks (grin)
and the rest will be very reasonable.
If you want to be notified as soon as every plan is available,
subscribe to our DAfN email
list -- everybody who's subscribed will learn about them first.
Here's Some Dog Agility Equipment To Get You Started
Here are the weave poles that we're still using -- after several
years. We did add another section to make a standard six-poler,
but we're still using the same pipes. This is an easy job to tackle,
even if the following instructions aren't step-by-step.
100% PVC Weave Poles
By Jay Jennings
We needed a new set of weave poles and we had a few items on our wish list:
- Inexpensive and easy to make
- Portable, easy to store
- Slanty poles for learning, straight poles for training
Figures 1 and 2 show you what I came up with. Figure 1 looks like a normal set of
weave poles. But when dogs are
learning it's nice to have poles that alternately lean out away from the base to create a path for the
dog to go through. As the dog gets better, lean the poles less and less until they're straight up and down
and your dog is whipping through them like those "Oh, aren't I great" border collies that the other handlers have.
The entire set is made of 3/4" PVC pipe. It takes 3 - 10' sections and 7 Ts to make a 5-poler.
Want more poles?
Add more on to the end. The one I made is plenty sturdy for training although if I was going to use it with
scads of dogs I might use some glue (which means you can't change from slanted to straight poles).
At this point things are just shoved together.
My original plan was to drill holes through the Ts and pipes so I could put in pins that would hold
things in the right spots. But the pipes fit so tightly into the Ts that I don't find it necessary.
It was pointed out to me that a 6-Poler is handier to use than a 5-Poler (when you slant the poles).
Why? Because with a 5-Poler, the dog can only enter from one end. Entering from the other end would mean
they'd start on the left (a no-no). So, either use the same end for entry all the time, or cut another
few pieces of PVC and create a 6-Poler!
Comments From the Net
About This Dog Agility Equipment
| Sherry Wargo (email@example.com) -- "Neat
site! Just a suggestion/reminder about the weave poles........if
you want to be able to practice them from either end (useful
for incorporating "off-side" weaves) always use an even number
of poles. Otherwise you'll confuse your dog about the entry,
especially with the poles leaning. So make it six poles, not
five! (You knew there was a reason all the professional poles
come in sets of six, didn't you! )
| Retriever (firstname.lastname@example.org) -- "My husband
made the same set of poles (one minor change was that he made
them in 4 pole increments so I could take them with me somewhere,
never did however) for me and they worked great. I realized
that they should be in some way staked to the ground so that
when the dogs are going bonzai, the poles themselves don't get
flung around. After 6-8 months of being outside the the dog
broke one of the joints, not sure of being outside had anything
to do with it or not. All in all they work great, but I recommend
finding a way to stake them to the ground."
| Denise Brown (RLShelties@aol.com) -- "I saw
your post on the Agility list and then went to your web page.
I have had weave poles like yours for close to nine years. My
husband is a plumbing contractor and built them for me. I started
with them not glued but after a short while they loosened up
and would not stay in place. He glued them in 2, 6-pole sections
which worked out great. Can't beat the price. They are now cracking
and chipping at the base because of the weather and sunlight.
They have alway been outside in the elements. They have held
up better than my expectations. I have taught agility classes
with everything from Great Danes to Min Pins running through
them. The only draw back-being glued they are not able to create
the channel for training and the storage for those who need
"A little help here? My paws are frozen to the teeter..."