An agility course provides your pets with exercise and fun

Make Your Own Dog Agility Course

The kids have their playroom, you've got the living room set up just how you like it, so why shouldn't your pets have a place for recreation and fun? A dog agility course in the back yard will give your pets exercise, a sense of achievement and of course tons of fun - fun that you join in with!

Training your four-legged friends to slalom through weave poles, fly over jumps, scamper though tunnels and balance on a teeter-totter is a thrilling experience that will bring you and your dogs even closer together.

Making an Agility Course is Easier Than You Think
Turning your backyard into an agility course is relatively easy. With a few simple materials you'll find at the local hardware store, you can make many of the key agility obstacles you see at dog shows.

There are plenty of elaborate ideas for agility equipment out there on the internet, but many of these require DIY skills, lots of tools and lots of money. We're going to keep things simple and inexpensive, so that virtually anyone can make these agility obstacles.

Lumber is cheap and can be used to make balancing walkways and teeter-totters
Balancing Walkway
For the ultimate in simplicity an outdoor picnic table can be used as a makeshift doggy walkway, but we think a balancing walkway should be a bit more challenging than that, and Fido probably does too. Get a decent sized piece of 2x6 wood (12 or 16 feet long preferably) and place it on cinderblocks at each end. You'll have an instant balancing walkway for about $10 that presents Fido with a proper challenge.

Hoop Jump
This one is so easy you'll be amazed you didn't think of it yourself! Take an old bicycle tire and hang it from a sturdy branch. That's it; done! You can make that one in your sleep...

Weave Poles

Weave poles help teach dogs coordination
These are a bit more tricky and involve joining upright PVC pipes to a central 'rail'. Although the concept is simple enough, you do have to cut the pipes to size and we calculated that the cost of all those PVC connectors will mount up. Instead we bent the rules a bit and bought an agility kit that came with weave poles. Call it cheating if you want, but we still think it's the best way to go for slalom poles.

Pause Box
You can use almost anything as a pause box, even something as simple as marking it on a patio area in chalk. We liked the idea of adding extra agility to the pause box and found an old coffee table at a yard sale for $5 that Fido has to jump onto before pausing.

Tunnel
Once again this one proved to be harder. Someone suggested an old trashcan with the bottom cut off, but it didn't look good and storing it cluttered the place up when we wanted to put everything away. A better idea was buying one of those children's crawl tunnels, but because the agility kit also had a tunnel it proved to be even more cost-effective to buy the kit.

An agility kit comes with weave poles, high jump, pause box and tunnel

High Jumps
There are many options for high jumps; from wooden planks on stacked cinderblocks, to broom handles balanced across two lawn chairs. Making jumps from PVC pipe is also easy to do, although slightly more costly. As luck would have it the agility kit we bought contained a high jump as well... turns out it was a great purchase!

Teeter-Totter
There are designs out there on the internet requiring the skills of a master carpenter, but it needn't be so difficult. Another length of 2x6 lumber (this time about 6 foot long) balanced over a piece of 6 inch PVC pipe makes a perfect teeter-totter balancing obstacle. Look for an off-cut of pipe while you're at the hardware store and it'll only cost pennies.

By John Bone
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