If you and your dog want an activity where both of you will enjoy, and at the same time a fun team sport then you should try dog agility. It is a combination of dog agility equipment and advanced off leash obedience and obstacle familiarization. Of course before you begin training you must have the right agility equipment for your dog, and a complete dog agility course is perfect to have. But it is still not yet necessary if you just want to have a home training.
Before you go ahead and purchase complete equipment you have to consider first the size of your backyard and what you can place on it. If you like to get the standard 12 foot dog walk but it will not fit in your backyard, then you just have to get an 8 foot dog walk instead. Even if you also want a single and a triple jump in your course, but since it will not fit might as well get four single jumps.
The second important thing you need to consider before buying dog agility equipment is the size and speed of your dog. This is important because your dog will be the one who will go through the obstacles, and you don’t want him stuck in a tunnel every time your dog goes in there. Commonly use for agility jumps are 3/4” PVC or the 1” PVC, so if your dog is just small and light then the ¾” will do and you will have more room on your budget.
But since these are sanctioned sports, different organizations have different rules and dimensions for the creation of obstacles. However, the same basic forms of most obstacles are being used. Obstacle will have the following:
A-Frame – these type of agility equipment are two spacious ramps, that are usually about 3 feet wide by 8 to 9 feet long, joint together and then raised so the link between the two ramps is between five and six and a quarter feet above the ground, the height will depend on the organization, but it will be more or less form an A shape. Both ramps are colored, usually yellow that makes the contact zone, where the dog needs to place at least one paw while he is ascending or descending.
Dogwalk – this type of obstacle also has contact zones, and most organizations require board on the dogwalk ramps. These are compose of three 8 to 12 ft planks with a 9 to 12 in. Of wide connected at the end. You also need to raise the centre plank for about 4 feet above the ground, and the two planks will create a ramp up and down to the centre plank.
Teeter-totter – is a 10 by 12 foot slat swinging on a pivot, just like a regular seesaw. One end will always return to the ground since it is made slightly off balance. This agility equipment also has contact zone but with the exception of the planks.
Tunnel – These tunnels are made up of flexible vinyl and wire, so it can be arrange in a straight line or in different curves. Vinyl tubes are usually 10 by 20 feet long with about 2 feet in diameter, where dogs run through.
Collapsed tunnel – also known as chute or cloth tunnel is a log like cylinder with a tube attached around one end. It is about 8 by 12 feet and only opens when the dogs runs into the open end of the cloth or chute and weave his way out on the other end.
Other Tunnels – only UKC allows other agility equipment tunnel types and these are the crawl tunnel and the hoop tunnel.
Here are some more agility equipment that are being used by different organization:
• Jumps or Hurdle
• Double or Triple (also known as Spread Jump)
• Panel Jump
• Broad Jump or Long Jump
• Tire Jump
• Table or Pause table
• Pause Box
• Weave Poles
There are a lot of other agility equipment that are being used, before you buy any of them always consider your budget, the place where you will put it and of course your dog. Always have fun training your dog.