Dog agility training is one of the fastest growing canine sports, but you don't need access to professional agility equipment to start training your dog. All you need is some everyday items with which to make of your own simple, affordable agility obstacles.
To make weave poles, insert a row of ten 3-foot long PVC pipes -- or dowel rods -- into the ground, leaving enough space for your dog to safely navigate through. Make sure all poles are standing up straight and are equally placed apart.
To make a standard jump, use two cinder blocks spaced a little less than 3 feet apart. Put the remaining doll rod across the blocks as a crossbar, balancing it on top of the block so that it easily falls off on contact. As you need to increase the height, add more blocks to the top.
To make a pause table, simply cut a rope or ribbon into four individual 2-foot lengths and form a square, overlapping the corner ends. Hold the rope/ribbon pieces down by nailing the spikes into each corner end.
To make a tunnel, unfold the plastic collapsible children's tunnel, stretching it out in a straight line or slightly curving it. Then nail down the tunnel using a spike at each entrance
- Spread obstacles out, leaving plenty of room to navigate. To encourage the dog through the various obstacles, use a bit of special food such as cheese or small pieces of meat to lure him through each station. Never force the dog to do an obstacle if he doesn't want to. Practicing agility should be fun; if the dog begins to act tired or bored, stop.
- Always make sure jump obstacles have a flexible crossbar that can easily fall off; the bar should never cause the jumping dog to trip or get injured.
- Pound the spike nails all the way into the ground so nail heads can't cause injury to the dog's paw pads.
Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.